A STORY OF THESE MODERN DAYS.
BALI.ANTYNE, HANSON AND CO.
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
M A S S T O N :
A STORY OF THESE MODERN DAYS.
A. J. DUFFIELD
W. H. POLLOCK.
1 Some there be that shadows kiss ;
Such have but a shadow's bliss :
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver'd o'er ; and so was this."
— Merchant of Venice, ii. g.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE.
[All rights reserved.']
^4 STORY OF THESE MODERN DA YS.
So, when my path seems dark and drear,
And when no more your voice can cheer
My failing strength, and when no more
I, struggling through the surf to shore,
Can see far shining in your eyes,
Past where the angry breakers rise
The light that shows me which way lies
The one clear course ; and when I think ;
♦ Not seeing it, that I must sink,
My soul with sore fatigue down prest
Shall still in thoughts of you find rest.
The farm called the Hermitage, to which on
a memorable occasion Dr. Cumberladge had
conveyed Sarah Armstrong, was a dismantled
dilapidated place at that time — that is to say,
it offered about as many facilities to live in as
a spider's web does to the larger and the
VOL. II. a
lesser, the painted and the buzzing, flies.
There was a certain central part where a
limited number of people might find tolerable
comfort ; the rest was a wilderness, and it was
beyond the Doctor's power to subdue to
order the chaos which was his inheritance
from his ancestors. This chaos had, like that
of planets, many elements of brightness and
strength, but they had been for a long time
floating uncombined in the embrace of fog,
for lack of some forming hand to o-ive them
shape and comeliness. Soon after, by the
Doctor's use of Sarah's misapprehension, her
son vanished from her, she longed for some
object on which to lavish her love. She had
forgotten, or rather had put away from her
memory, her father and mother. She had for
a time merged her love for them in a new
love, which she thought included and glorified
her filial love. All the drudgery she had en-
dured at their farm, viewed through the light
of this new love, became refined and refining
worship. With what delight did she tell
Robert Warner of her home experiences — of
the sweet breath of the kine as she milked
them — of the yet sweeter breath of the early-
morning, when, as she fed the poultry, the sun
came out and warmed her for the labour of
the new-born day. She would tell him, too,
of her fancies — of how the flowers kissed each
other as they awoke ; how from the hedgerows
which had been their pillows she saw the wild-
flowers rise to deck the day and lighten her
tasks ; how the birds- carolled with her in
pure joy, and carried their joy with her morn-
ing prayers to heaven. All this did she de-
light to tell him. And the posy which we
have seen her carry to him one evening at
the Oxford Works, bore in it, had he but
known it, the memory of all these things, and
with it his salvation. And Warner, and all
those other memories likewise, had been put
But after the dream which she finished as
she slept on the shoulder of Trusty, the great
dog, who earned a silver collar by shielding
her from the cold stones, she woke in the
presence of the Doctor and Dame Cumber-
ladge to the first instinct of a new life which
was to find its full unfolding in her care of the
Hermitage Farm. And upon this ancient place
was bestowed the love that was in Sarah Arm-
strong, and which could not be killed even by
the treachery of Robert Warner.
It seemed as if this love rave j ts own f orm .
ing life to the gray walls upon which it fell.
Like the sun itself it searched out the hidden
places in which the damp cold collected. Even
the mosses, hitherto smothered in silent tears,
burst into flower. It brought to the dark
places it visited the remembrance and capa-
city of pleasure and good cheer, as the pre-
sence of a kind nurse brings comfort to the
neglected bed of a sick child. Its warmth
appeared to arrest decay, but cared most of
all to linger on the walls of the old chapel,
MASSTON. * 5
once the shrine of saints and the goal of
knights, now the home of emptiness and the
habitation of weeds.
In this chapel there were niches where stood
the Cumberladges of old, who looked down
upon her in their stony panoply and by their
very stillness seemed to shame the restless
turmoil raging near them. There was some-
thing reproachful in their silent dignity ; some-
thing which seemed not so much to regret the
wisdom of a past time, as to mourn the folly
of the present, insomuch that Dr. Cumber-
ladge, who, although a practical man had in
him some inherited tinge of superstition, was
loath to enter the chapel in a half light alone ;
he would say the sightless eyes of the statues
looked through him and chilled his bones. But
a short while after Sarah had taken the knights
under her care, the Doctor strolled into the
chapel to find what change she had wrought,
and on coming out he met her, and said with
one of his meaning smiles —
" Why, Sarah, you have brought the knights
to life a^ain."
To which she answered, " Surely not ; they
have only been forgotten. It is they who have
given new life to me."
What Sarah had done for the knights, who
of course were the most difficult people to
manage, she had done for the rest of the farm
— that is, she had given a living, happy, human
expression to every abject corner of a dying
This the Doctor discovered in due time, and,
like the sensible man he was, put his discovery
to admirable use. Thus did Sarah Armstrong,
in return for the life that the Doctor had re-
stored to her, prepare for him and his a new
life in an old home which the stress of life had
filled with the triumph of decay.
Pleased but not content with Sarah's handi-
work, he would add to it that touch of grace
which the artist alone is able to supply, and
this touch he thought to find in the handiwork
MASSTON. » 7
of Paul Blanchard, who became known to him
through his association with Jeavons. Indeed
it was as much to know the artist as to obtain
his work that the Doctor proposed to Blan-
chard to come to the farm, to see what could
be done with the chapel, and to choose his own
day for the visit.
Now there dawned some days in Masston
which neither its smoke nor its black mud
could sully ; and there were some people ill
content to live in it, who had left in them so
much sympathy with the brightness of nature
as made them take delight in these days, and
spend them if they could in the green fields
instead of in the murky, noisy streets. It was
on such a day that Blanchard set out for the
Hermitage. To have remained in the hideous
den of a town on such a morning would have
been as craven as for a prisoner to remain in
his sickly cell after the door had been thrown
open by his deliverer.
To us who have much love for Blanchard, it
is unpleasant to confess that on this particular
morning he had reasons of his own for seeking
whatever air and freshness he could. On the
day before the month, during which he had
promised to Jeavons that he would taste no
more spirits, was out, and the result, which was
perhaps not unnatural, had followed, Blan-
chard was at work on a very delicate piece of
designing, and found that neither his brain nor
his hand would move with the skill and rapidity
he desired. And more from instinct than re-
solve, he attempted to overcome his depression
by so drowning it that neither it nor any other
human feeling should affect him. In short, he
got very drunk. And it was perhaps as much
to avoid the shame of meeting Jeavons as for
any other reason, that he left Masston the next
day. By a coincidence which, although com-
mon, is still very strange, as Blanchard walked
across the fields to the Hermitage, the Doctor
drove into Masston by the road.
It was a restoring walk ; the trees were very
dear to him, and the sky which peeped through
their branches, and the red and yellow flowers,
which stood in the ranks of the grass as officers
in fine accoutrements stand among their men.
And although he imagined that these superior
beings had seen him in his gross stupidities
and his helpless vices — his eyes squinting, and
his tongue swaying his brain in vulgar mas-
tery — yet he also knew their divine charity.
They would not chide ; and it was perhaps by
their silence that he was won back to their
" Is Dr. Cumberladge at home ? " the de-
signer asked of a neat maiden who opened
" Master has gone to the town for to bring
" My name is Blanchard ; can you show me
the way to the chapel ? "
Paul was led across an old-fashioned garden,
in which wallflowers and double daisies formed
the flowering aristocracy, on the other side of
which, hidden behind a clump of trees, stood
" You will find the door open," said the
maid, pointing it out to him, and went back to
Blanchard passed through a half-open door,
in an ivy-hung porch, and found himself in the
presence of the knights.
He had come into an atmosphere of that
sweet tranquillity for which his morning's walk
had prepared him. Above the heads of the
stone Cumberladges hung a series of pictures
which not only gladdened his eyes but instructed
them. Vivid pictures they were, of trees and
sky framed in the chapel windows, from which
the stained glass had long since fallen, and
these had taken its place. They were the
same trees and sky he had seen in his walk,
but thus seen they begat in him a desire to
know the Artist; and they had for him some
special significance, which gave a definite shape
to the crowding memories of a time before they
were defiled with the touch of Masston. From
beholding the windows his eyes fell to the floor,
and from the floor they rose again to the pillars,
whose capitals were lost among the cobwebs
of the aees, here and there defaced and broken
by cruelties which brought the present and
the past together with the shock of an out-
rage. And the people who had wrought this
ruin were no more conscious of what they
were about, than are two irresponsible forces
which meet and clash in a dark hole called a
" There's little for me to do here," said
Blanchard reflectively, as he looked through
the cluster of pillars in the darkest corner of
the chapel. From this, as the designer spoke,
there seemed to come a gleam of sudden light,
which under his graze resolved itself into a
white figure that the sun, which had been over-
clouded for a moment, greeted with a swift
beam falling upon it through one of the ancient
windows. As the form advanced towards
1 2 MASSTON.
Blanchard, who watched its coming with an
astonished reverence, he discovered more
clearly the face above it.
There are men in whom, for themselves at
least, the spirit of prophecy yet survives ; who
at certain moments are forced by it to say
within themselves, " This thing, or person, will
influence and alter the course of my life, and
of all life, in so far as life shall have any
preciousness for me." It is not strange that
this should be so. What men call the gift
of prophecy, is but the power of being able
to concentrate into a momentary space the
calculation of cause and effect, which is gene-
rally extended over a long time. Blanchard
was a man of quick perceptions. In spite of
the dulling influence of liquor, which has the
same effect on some minds as frost has on
window-panes, he had feelers and tentacles
in every direction which conveyed to him,
with the swiftness of the harp in discovering
its music, what common men or others dif-
ferently endowed arrive at only by toil and
weariness ; and perhaps, in his present mood
of reaction, these feelers were in an unusually
excited state. Be that as it may : they told
him with an insistance he knew to be war-
ranted, that Sarah Armstrong, — for the sweet
figure which came from behind the pillars was
hers, — would have some potent sway over his
being. When she drew near him with the sun-
light still caressing her she said —
" You must, I think, be Mr. Blanchard."
Paul bowed in answer.
" The Doctor told me of your coming," she
continued, " and I came to take a last look at
these pillars, and try to find out why men are
so fond of pulling down old things, and replac-
ing them by things which speedily rot or tar-
nish or rust. I cannot tell you how glad I
am to have heard the words you said." She
paused, as if expecting some reply, but the
designer only raised his eyes to hers, and let
them fall again, making a bow, into which he
threw an earnest expression of sympathy, de-
votion, and obedience.
What could he do, or say ? being burdened
with the sweetest yoke a man can have laid
upon him ; his heart full of rapture, and his
mind with ecstacy too great for aught but sil-
ence ? He stood looking at her as a prisoner,
watching the sky through his iron bars, regards
the little bird which has suddenly alighted on
his sill, afraid to move or speak lest he should
frighten it away.
Sarah, who saw in Paul's glance that she
was understood, continued —
(; I have grown to love this chapel very
dearly; I have saved it from the disease of
decay which threatened it with death ; and, as
time has gone by, have grown to think — you
will say it is only my fancy — that the walls,
the pillars, the statues, have some knowledge
of me, and some love for the care I have be-
stowed upon them."
Blanchard looked up again at her, and said,
" I could well imagine it. I have heard from
Dr. Cumberladge what this place was once.
I see what it is now, and I repeat there is little
for me to do here. A piece of pavement, some
mason's art to heal the bruise of time, or the
ill-usage of men, or swine, anything more would
be out of place. As for introducing any new
design, or any old design furbished into new-
ness, I could not even dream of it."
"And I had been dreading your coming,"
said Sarah, " lest you should change the old
order that I love."
" No. I am a designer, but in spite of that
I have some reverence left for the work of
better men than myself. Sooner than restore,
as it is miscalled, one of these statues, I would
break it to pieces."
Sarah looked at him with gratitude and
admiration, and said, " The statues, happily,
are out of the reach of idle and cruel hands.
They are less hurt than the things nearer the
1 6 MASSTON.
" Yes," replied Blanchard ; " to be above the
reach of the touch of cruelty or corruption is
There was a mournful cadence in the voice
which caught Sarah's ear ; in his attitude there
was a dejection which perhaps only a woman's
eye can espy in a man — for she only possesses
the helping pity that ripens into love — and she
seldom sees a trouble or a sorrow but she lon^s
to turn it into joy. Presently she said, " Will
you tell me what you think should be done to
the pillars, and would you open this window ? "
Paul had not observed the blocked-up
window, and many another thing had escaped
him which Sarah pointed out. Nor did he
seem to notice cornice or mullion, moulding or
chamfer, when she brought him to them, so
occupied was he with her — with the sound of
her voice, the motion of her limbs, and the
music which appeared to him to come from her
whole figure when in repose. Till then he had
never seen a woman's lips, or known that even
MASSTON. 1 7
these portals of love can give forth light as
sweet and swift as the glance of an eye. Till
then he did not know that all the sweet but
silent influences of heaven and earth have their
conductors to a man's soul even as the light-
ning has to the heart of oaks and the centre
They went together to talk of ruins, and
discuss repairs, and wander through fallen frag-
ments and over dislocated stones carved by
human hands, and lo ! their speech changed ;
and they found themselves talking indeed of
ruins and of polished stones and of a temple,
but one not made with hands.
Sarah spoke much to Paul ; but it was of the
present — the very present then before them —
with no more of the past clinging to it than
there clings of the cold green of fruit to its
warm and purple ripeness.
Paul, on the other hand, was thrown on his
regrets, like a school-boy sent back to pick up
his lesson which he has dropped in the play-
VOL. II. b
1 8 MASSTON.
ground — a waste of time often attended with
tears and shame.
Sarah learnt from what Paul said of himself,
and from the nature of his sayings, now timid,
now acid, now bold even to laughter, that he
had believed much in his own powers to do
some good work, and that this belief was pass-
ing from him.
" It is too late now," he said with a sigh, too
prolonged and deep to be born of the moment.
" I see the straight road, and would give much
to walk in it. But my feet have too long
learned to travel in crooked ways." And half
in vexation and half in courtesy he turned
abruptly to examine some metal-work on
the door near which they stood and said,
" I have no right to bring my empty com-
plaints to one whom I have met thus sud-
denly." He wished to add that in spite of
this he felt it easy to open his heart to her
as if she were an old friend whom he had
discovered after a long and vain search. But
the words lost themselves on their way to
"If I could help you from any trouble you
have," she answered, " I would be sflad."
" I fear any one who tried to help me for
long, would be dragged into the mud of my
own hopelessness. Once my oldest friend
came out to meet me in the dark, and brought
his lantern, without which we could not find
our way through clay and mire, or pass the
yawning mouths of old pits, without danger of
falling into them. I, beina- strong in self-will
and folly, would do nothing but carry the
lantern, and no sooner had I taken it, than I
stumbled and fell, and the light went out,
when there were two benighted fools instead
" You should unlearn that fear, and you
would feel more trust in yourself." He pon-
dered a moment at these words — he had heard
them before, but this time they were set to a
fresh accompaniment — and he said in a voice
attuned to the new music, " I have one friend
who has stuck by me so far, and I must not
" Think," said Sarah, with her thrice-blessed
naturalness, "that you have two."
Blanchard's eyes expressed his thanks for
these words, his voice dared not. Immediately
afterwards he went away, saying, " I must
come here again to see the Doctor; shall I see
you there, and," " hope for further speech,
and further love, and strength," he would have
said, had he not been stopped by the confu-
sion into which he was plunged, like a horse
that is checked by his rider in the middle
of a leap.
" I am always here, and most likely I shall
see you when you come."
Blanchard then left the chapel, revolving
many things in his swift mind which had no
place there when he entered it. As he crossed
the belt of trees, Sarah looked after him till he
was out of sight
MASSTON. 2 1
When next she saw Dame Cumberladae,
who made some general inquiries regarding
Paul Blanchard's visit, Sarah answered that
he had most soft brown eyes, — a reply which
Dame Cumberladge reported to the Doctor.
( 22 )
" The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new lights through chinks that Time has made."
Amadis was not more proud in discovering
Oriana than was Dr. Cumberladge in finding
Sarah Armstrong. It is true that the master
passion of the knight was love, that of the
Doctor compassion. Both have their martyr-
dom, also their unfading joys; and he who would
reap a harvest of the one, must be prepared to
pass through the fires of the other. In many
cases the costly benevolence which the good
Doctor had poured into the laps of those who
turned out to be nothing but worthless
wretches, had been returned in nought else
than revilings. Even his wife had once been
inclined to cast in his teeth the charge of
extravagance and folly, but she had resisted
that temptation, and for ever after remained
steadfast to her husband in all he did. When
the Doctor found his wife loving Sarah Arm-
strong with a love mixed with admiration and
delieht, he lost all recollection of the scoffs and
jeers and ingratitude which now and then
came on him, as come plagues and diseases on
those who set themselves to do battle with
them, and he even forgot the chagrin and
disgust which had followed almost all his
efforts to do orood to sinful men and faithless
women. Ninety-nine of these had told him to
his face that they had no need of him ; and
had gone on prospering in their own way —
turning his mercy into what cannot be other-
wise called than bestial success. But this one
out of the hundred, was worth all the ninety-
nine put together ; and in Sarah Armstrong,
the good Cumberladge found an enduring joy.
And yet he must pay a heavy price for his
possession. Full fifteen years had rolled on
since the drizzling ni°fht in which the doe
Trusty was promised his silver collar for the
good service he had done ; and there had
not come and gone one single day of every
year of those fifteen years, but had borne its
own most precious fruit of unexpected blessing.
The payment for this was to be full ten years
of constant daily pain, not only to Dr. Cumber-
ladge, but likewise to his wife.
Sarah had never quitted the Hermitage since
the events already recorded. The Cumber-
ladies had made it an occasional resort until
the little Cumberladges became numerous, and
the Doctor made it a permanent home. The
life and soul of this home was Sarah, and
she it was who gave it to him, in return for
the home he had provided for her, when her
own father and mother had forsaken her.
Good and strong, and thoroughly healthy as
Cumberladge was, he was glad to leave the
trickery and shifts, the cruelty and lies, daily
enacted before his face in Masston. Why
should he not be likewise swept along by the
Masston stream into the same gulf to which it
sped ? His family had increased — was growing
apace, with its needs and cares, and all the
fiery trials which make red hot a man's minted
coin, so that it can neither stay in his pocket,
nor stick to his fingers, and he must go and
live there where the earth was a little closer to
heaven than it was in Masston.
So he went to the Hermitage ; it was the
result of an accident after all.
When Sarah's son had proved to Dr. Cum-
berladge that he intended to live, and gave
manifest token of possessing sound limbs and a
bright and happy spirit, he was brought from
the forest cottage where he had been nurtured,
and to which he had been taken immediately
after his anonymous appearance in the world,
to be a playmate for Master Shirley Cumber-
ladge, a delicate little prince of nearly his
own age. The ambition of this five-year-old
Cumberladge was to go out into all the world
2 6 MASSTON.
and kill dragons, and deliver maidens from the
hands of monstrous giants who dwelt in castles,
whose towers touched the stars. He did this,
by lying prone on the hearth-rug all day, read-
ing books, and dreaming of what he had read
at night, whether asleep or wide-awake. The
consequence was that the child sickened ; but
his sickness increased when they took away
from him his chronicles, and he would inevit-
ably have died if the Doctor his father had not
prescribed for him.
The prescription was Sarah's son, who, under
the name of Robert Hugh Armitage, became
minister of health at the age of six to Shirley
Cumberladge. The two children grew up to-
gether, slept in the same room together, wore
the same style and kind of clothing, read the
same books, sat on the same form in the same
school, and won equal prizes in all contests.
One day the two boys fought. The boy
Hugh, more able than Shirley, had finished his
school work, and was busy making a clean
copy of verses he had written to his mother,
whose birthday was due on the morrow.
Shirley, in a fit of irritation, or mischief, or
both, dropped a blot of ink on to the gold-bor-
dered sheet of paper bought by the poet, and
spoilt it. The poet's soul was fired with anger,
and he exclaimed in high tones,
" My mother shall know of this."
" She is not your mother," retorted the
prince with scorn, and slapped the poet in the
face. Then came the fight, and prince and
poet most cruelly demonstrated that they were
both of them sound in wind and limb, and that
the Doctor's prescription for Master Shirley
had proved effectual.
"Why, Hugh, what on earth is the matter ? "
exclaimed Dame Cumberladge, as the boy,
with blood on his garments, and fear, mingled
with wrath in his eyes, presented himself to
" Are you not my mother ? " he asked in a
troubled voice, and with a tumult in his whole
2 8 MASSTON.
being as grown men have been known to
suffer when they have asked themselves if they
were awake or only dreaming.
" My poor boy," was the only reply he
received, together with the touch of a friendly
hand that pressed his little head against the
lady's silk dress.
Then, in the twinkling of an eye, was the
whole world filled with misery and pain for
one of its children. He had no mother — that
is to say, this most loving lady, whose eyes to
him were as soft as flowers, whose morning
kiss was heaven's dowry, and whose love was
his patent of life, was, as his enemy had said,
not his mother. But she was the mother of
him who had struck him in the face. He
had not felt that blow till now. It separated
him from all that he possessed, and what was
worse, it opened his eyes to the sea of cruelty
which he knew not to exist until he found
himself in the midst of its awful billows.
Sorrow often brings with it light and wisdom,
even though it be too late to be of other use
than to luxuriate in its possession. Sorrow
may show us the land of promise in a moment's
time, but will not help us to lift one leg
before another to enter it. And some light
did sorrow bring even to this child ; whether
a light of life or of death, sorrow could not tell
him— it could only urge him to follow it, and
he did ; and that light led him to a land he
knew nothing of and which knew nothing of
him. He fled, for he could do nothing else
than fly from him who had struck him a blow
which had gone to his heart and spilt its
warmest blood ; and, cruellest of all, had cut
him off from her whom he had loved, as one
who has a rig-nt to love the dearest and best
of all human beings.
Then, perhaps, sorrow is a revolving light,
which, when it shines on one, turns darkness
on to another. For, when Dr. Cumberladge
came to know all the day's work, and found
that his god-son — the son of his friend — the
son of his own mercy, whom he had designed
to be a ministering an^el, or an aveneino-
Astraea — had really fled from him into the
very same world from which he had rescued
his mother, that her son, as it would seem,
might only come to the greater grief, such
sorrow laid hold of Dr. Cumberladge as only
comes to those who are able to discern that it
is without remedy or removal.
He discovered, when it was of no use but
to torment him, that he had no more right to
brine a child into his own home, warm and
feed and nurture it, and leave it without pro-
vision or right of inheritance, than has a man
the right to bring a child into the world and
leave it to gain a living by its cries.
Whatever evil shall come on that boy stray-
ing away from all that was dear and holy to
him, Dr. Cumberladge must share.
Whatever exposure, humiliation, disaster, or
punishment ensue, must fall most on him who
once left the mother of that boy to perish.
MASSTON. 3 1
The first trouble fell on the Doctor. He
had made himself responsible for this boy. He
had voluntarily taken him off his own father's
hands, and, certain conditions being fulfilled,
that father should never hear a word breathed
regarding his unhappy offspring. Those con-
ditions had been strictly and regularly com-
plied with. And yet, in spite of all precaution
and providence, here was this son of Sarah
Armstrong bringing ten thousand times more
trouble on everybody than he could have
brought had Dr. Cumberladge not intervened.
He had moreover deprived a mother of her
child, which as the Doctor himself now knew
and declared was nothing else than robbing
God. All this, and much more, came out as
clear and distinct as fire brings out secret
writing. All the good motives, the benevo-
lent aims, and high promises which had guided
the saviour of Sarah Armstrong were turned
into accusing spirits, which, day and night,
pressed on him their disappointments and their
sarcasms as if they had been so many haggard
wives asking back their youth and bloom, and
cursing him, and alike themselves, for being no
longer what they were when they were incap-
able of anything but pure rapture.
Acting on what he conceived to be his duty,
Cumberladge, choking with vexation, proceeded
to Mr. R. W. Warner's works to convey the
particulars of his son's flight to his father.
If a highly respectable person, a pillar of the
church, a friend of the clergy, and acquainted
with bishops be told that his early sins are run-
ning somewhere about the world, and may at
some awful moment — say at a dinner-party, con-
sisting of holy men and holy women, engaged
in sipping delightful wines and discussing free
grace, or final perseverance — turn up from
under the table, clothed in rags and smelling of
swine, to claim their prodigal father ; surely we
ought to sympathise with that person, and
hope that his punishment will not be greater
than he can bear.
Poor relations are bad enough to those who
live on nothing but the renown of riches, but
to have execrable vices, damning sins, and
monstrous cruelties becoming incarnate, taking
well-known forms and importunely claiming
holy men, with bishops on their list of friends,
and Laffite, Leoville, and Margot clarets in
their cellars, as their fathers, must be hell
itself. If at one time Dr. Cumberladsre dreamed
of raising this place of torment for Mr. Robert
Warner, he was heartily sorry for it now when
he saw that it had become inevitable.
The interview between Dr. Cumberlad^e and
Mr. R. W. Warner was conducted with the
utmost decorum. The only one of the two
men who suffered any pain from the disclosure
which had to be made, and the associations
which surrounded it, was the philanthropist.
" The boy never knew his mother, had
never heard of his father, his mother believes
the boy to be dead ; and the only persons with
any knowledge of this business are yourself,
VOL. II. c
your wife, and myself. Is that so ? " inquired
Warner with great deliberation.
" That is so."
" Do you intend to keep the mother in that
ignorance ? "
" Most certainly, we have made her life
happy. She has no bitter recollections, not a
shadow of regret ever passes over her pure
mind. She has grown into a refined and
beautiful woman, and rules the Hermitage like
one born to the right and manner of ruling."
Strange to tell — Warner, who had grown
into a refined and handsome man, who ruled the
Oxford Works like one born to the riant and
manner of ruling, who had, moreover, married
a most lovely woman, of high birth and great
fortune, and belonged to the finest outward
show of things the world could boast, did not
believe what Dr. Cumberladge said of Sarah
Armstrong. He had learnt from the teachers
who had brought about his complete regenera-
tion that it was going against God to say of one
who had conducted herself as had Sarah Arm-
strong, that she had grown into a refined and
beautiful woman. It was an insult to Provi-
dence ; and as for her being happy, he did not
believe that either; while it was an evidence as
plain as it was painful that, having no bitter
recollections or shadows of regret, she must be
still in the Qfall of bitterness and the bonds of
iniquity. If Mr. Warner had not possessed the
honour of an acquaintance with the head of the
church, and the privilege of a daily attendance
at the throne of grace, he could never have been
able to form that clear and decided opinion.
Warner did not convey to Cumberladge the
thoughts which passed through his mind.
" In spite of the boy's running away, Dr.
Cumberladge, I shall continue the yearly allow-
ance as before. I wish you good morning."
This was a little bitter, but the Doctor bore
it like a gentleman who never forgets to be
polite to his inferiors.
As for Dame Cumberladge, she never for-
gave herself for what to her appeared palpable
deceit, in keeping Sarah in the belief that her
boy was dead. And the deceit was not the
half of the wron^ done ; for she had wronged
a mother of her right ; and a woman who had
bought at great price a thing of great joy. As
Sarah's boy grew in grace and favour beneath
Dame Cumberladge's care, and she saw him
rival her own son in capacity and good looks,
she wavered still more in her promise to keep
Sarah in the dark. But the Doctor held her to
it peremptorily. When the flight took place
and the boy no more returned, her grief and
sorrow increased from day to day, and hastened
her removal from Masston to the Hermitage.
In the presence of Sarah the stately dame re-
covered her natural disposition, and found less
difficulty in keeping a secret the revelation of
which could only have brought a flood of un-
necessary and barren sorrow. Why darken
the happiness of a new day with useless pain ?
Besides, if the Cumberladges had then re-
lated all they knew to Sarah, Sarah would
on the instant have fled in search of her son,
and one great loss would have been followed
The daily anguish for many days together at
the first after taking up their abode at the farm,
shared between the Doctor and his wife, sprang
from the certainty that Dolly or Shirley Cum-
berladge also, who had been the inseparable
companions of the runaway, would so speak
to Sarah of the delinquent and the misery he
had caused as to awaken inquiry or rouse sus-
picion, or give place to awkward questioning.
All this did the Doctor and his good and
loving wife endure.
But not more steadily did the grass continue
its growth, and all the silent processes of nature
their operations, without any sign of giving
way to the weakness of explanatory speech,
than did the young people grow out of all re-
collection of him who had gone away from
them for ever.
It may not be quite true that Dolly had any
secret cause to forget her foster brother equal
to the cause which made Shirley try to forget
him. Be that as it may, no bird ever flew from
the nest and became forgotten sooner and more
completely than did Hugh Armitage, whose
name was never more heard at the Hermitage
farm ; and if his image brought aught of
remembrance to any it was kept in silence.
Of course nothing more was ever heard of
that name at the Oxford Works. Hearing,
however, is not the only avenue of knowledge
open to mortals, as Robert Welsher Warner
well knew. When at certain hours of the day
the heavy mortgages on the Oxford Works
pressed heavily on his soul, he would, by some
unaccountable means, get reminded of another
kind of mortgage, payment of which might be
demanded at an unexpected and unprepared,
for time, and that not in money but in spasms,
not in any coin of the realm but in fear and
Tormented as Warner was by many fears,
it must not be supposed that he was destitute
of those private sources of pleasure which give
even to money-borrowing men specific reasons
for continuing to exist. Warner could not
only be generous, he used his generosity as a
means to an end — that end being the pleasure
of Mr. R. W. Warner. He had longf asfo dis-
covered that he could do no good thing without
feeling proud of it, and becoming fully con-
scious that it was a good thing ; just as if the
gods, knowing well the motive of his gifts,
hurled them back in his face when he came
to offer them. Warner would have liked the
heavenly powers to give him their countenance,
but as they refused to do so in a strictly private
and confidential manner, he soon managed to
live without it, albeit he was never indifferent
to the slight.
Some days after the meeting of Blanchard
and Sarah Armstrong in the Hermitage chapel,
Warner, as was his wont, went one morning to
pass a little time in the designer's room. He
was as often delighted with Blanchard's sayings
as with his designs, and the real laughter in
which Warner sometimes indulged was a pleas-
ing intoxication when evoked by Paul. Some-
thing approaching to friendship had sprung up
cetween these two men. Not the friendship
which is presided over by unseen love, but the
trappings and signs of it ; or, at most, a well-
executed counterfeit. And it is true that in
Masston you could even get sovereigns, so like
real sovereigns to look at, that they passed for
sovereigns for long periods together, and were
only found to be base imitations by the merest
accident. Warner's friendship was, after all,
only Masston produce.
Blanchard found perfect freedom in the ser-
vice of the master of the Oxford Works ; and
the master of the Oxford W T orks reaped great
profit and some renown by the labours of the
inventor, who, sad to tell, had a soul so proud
that he could not even dream of advantage,
MASSTON. 4 1
any more than a field of corn could dream of
flour-mills. Blanchard was pleased with the
scope allowed him — he asked for nothing that
he did not obtain— expensive tools, costly-
material, and elaborate experiments, he could
always command. The two thus became of
mutual use to each other, and each was satis-
fied with what came in the way of result.
On the morning in question, Warner dis-
covered a moodiness amounting to taciturn
sullenness in Blanchard, which alarmed him.
Some discontent had seized the choose which
for him laid golden eggs, and he set himself
to discover the inventor's mind. This required
no small tact.
" You are not well to-day, Mr. Blanchard ! "
" Yes, I am," was the tart reply; but, recover-
ing himself, and relinquishing his work, at
which he continued to gaze vacantly, he pro-
ceeded : " But if by 'well' you mean bright as
light, and light as air, my blood liquid bliss,
and life itself compelling wonder mingled with
rejoicing, then, sir, I am not well, I am indeed
very sick. But you, who were never sick as I
am, cannot know what I mean."
" Assuredly," said Warner, in his most
natural tone, " I know that we all have our
dark days, and we can no more help it, or
make them bright, than we can make the sun
rise earlier than its appointed hour."
" We can help it ! " exclaimed Paul with en-
ergy, his brow becoming knitted as if clutched
with iron fingers. For, being the least selfish
of men, living, when at his best, in a world of
bright and happy beings, he dared say what
was uppermost in his mind, regardless of its
effect on persons, though he must have known
that at times his words could not but produce
much pain, and not unfrequently great aggra-
vation. " It is my own fault," he continued,
" that this day finds me in the blackness of
despair, when I might have been in possession
of a shining hope. I have fitted to myself the
garments of vileness, I have been content to
wear other people's rags, because I could not
otherwise disguise myself, when disguise for
them was necessary, as I also thought it was
for me. And now, by God ! the vile garments
won't come off; the rags I have worn these
years have become part of myself. No one
knows me. One," — here Paul's voice, from
being deep and harmonious, became broken up
into discords. "One — I would owe the world
if she could know me as well as I know her —
cannot come to any adequate knowledge of
what I am for the apparel I wear."
This was the kind of outburst which now and
then made Warner laugh, but on this occasion
there was something in Paul's manner which
was provocative of quite other emotion. At
first Warner thought the inventor to be drunk,
but seeing him standing quite firmly, his eye
fixed on some unseen thing, with his cleft chin
grasped in the long delicate fingers, which
pressed themselves even on Warner's attention,
he said to Paul, rather in a business-like tone —
" I should like to know your meaning."
" I mean," was the reply, " that I have
changed my being for another than God gave
me, and have only just discovered what a thrice
accursed fool I am for the trick I have played
on myself. I never believed in your water
regenerations by face sprinkling, but when you
come to baptism by brandy, you won't be long
in arriving at conversion to the belief that a
man can be born again. Even my face is
changed, and that is going to change my heart
into an abode of detestable images, made of
the bad stuff of my own evil deeds."
" All this is very dark to me," said Warner
with a patient smile.
" Of course it is," said the other with moody
curtness ; " but," he continued, " suppose I were
to hold up a glass before your face, in which
you could see yourself changed into an object
of pity and compassion, or into a thing to be
feared first and despised afterwards, what
would be your feelings, and what would you
say ? You would say just the very things that
I have now said."
Warner became more than interested, and
Blanchard went on, "Had I known that I
should ever meet a woman, such as I met only
a few days ago, with the chance of making her
my wife, I would have been a different man to
what I am ; I would have lived a different life.
But I dare not think of her — and yet I see her
all day, and all night ; and she sees me, and
there's a look in her face that beckons me on,
which is speedily followed by another which
warns me off. Had you not come in just now,
I should have gone to drown my thoughts ;
but not at the Cu'lwell, no thoughts will ever
come to me again that will be fit for any other
fate, and when these are all drowned, I suppose
I shall drown myself."
Warner's generosity was on the alert. He
felt for Blanchard, and what is more, he felt
that no ordinary means must be used to recover
him of the distemper in which he then was.
He could have given a whole handful of papers
full of printed directions, and a new edition of
the poems of King David, and even still more
precious things, together with glorious old
letters written in seraphic fire, or in floods of
tears shed by the Christ himself, or said to
be so ; and yet these would have had as much
effect in Paul's case, as would a piece of
adhesive plaster in mending a fractured tea-
kettle needed for boiling water. So the latest
sample of the good Samaritan went and brought
some drawings of a machine that could do
everything but think, and the description of a
new process for putting a film of copper on to
a solid piece of iron. With these the man of
trade and commercial religion thought to heal
the wounds of love, and hush the wailings of
one in immortal pain. Afterwards Warner
would carry Blanchard to Baston Hall to pass
the evening, under pretence of needing his
services there in some matters of taste. For
Warner had great trust in Edith's power to
beguile Blanchard from ill courses even into
the way of a new life ; the life, on the pleasures
of which she could discourse so well. Edith
also would be pleased in having something
good to do, and an opportunity of exercising
her ministering powers.
That evening did Mr. Warner's open car-
riage convey the proprietor of the Oxford
Works and Paul Blanchard though the streets
of Masston to Baston Hall ; and no one
noticed it with so kindling an eye as did Mr.
( 48 )
" Marinero soy de amor,
Y en su pielago profundo,
Navego, sin esperanza
De llegar a puerto alguno.
Siguiendo voy a una estrella,
Que desde lejos discubro,
Mas bella y resplandeciente
Que quantos vio Palinuro.
O clara y luciente estrella
En cuya lumbre me apuro !
Al punto que te me encubras,
Sera de mi muerte el punto."
A sailor I on love's deep sea,
My hopes of haven few,
My only guide a single star,
Whose distant light I view —
A star more bright, a finer light
Than Palinurus knew.
O clear and steadfast shining star !
Whose light to me is breath ;
If thou that light should hide from me,
The darkness will be death.
— Don Quixote, xliii
Blanch ard was well received at the Hall. By
Edith because she hoped to obtain some notice
of the progress made by Jeavons with the
lower working people in providing them with
good food. By Julia because he was the
architect of a remarkable bird's cage as big
as a church, wherein she kept doves, canaries,
sparrows, finches, starlings, wrens, tom-tits,
yellow hammers, and parrots. Each bird had
his own dwelling and the right to a spacious
hall with a floor of clover, and a roof of netting.
Julia, who had never seen Paul, ceased not to
make inquiries about him ever since Mr.
Warner had told her that the constructer of her
aviary was the designer to the Oxford Works.
His reception was therefore cordial, and his
own manners and singular intelligence procured
him a consideration from the ladies that would
have been deemed flattery by a man of idleness
" Let me build a cathedral for the birds,"
Paul had said when Warner communicated to
him his wishes ; " and I will so build it that the
lady may train them to do anything she likes,
VOL. II. D
and can have a cage in it for herself, from
which she may study the characters of her pets,
and treat them as they require.
Warner, who was proud of the conceit, and
of the uses to which a thing so common, being
made really great, could be put, gave his con-
sent. So Paul made a sketch of the bird
palace, and drew out a scheme for a colony of
birds that filled the heart of Warner with pride,
and the heart of Edith with a mild pleasure
as she thought of the sister, whom she loved,
finding an occupation that should amuse her
and occupy her time in a way that was at
least innocent if it was not very useful.
Warner contributed some ideas to this fairy
temple, so did Mr. Gadso ; even Lord Lime-
thorpe, who knew almost everything, had
something to say about the most wonderful
bird-house ever heard of. It was built of fine
wire with many ornaments of gold and silver,
mixed with vermilion and blue bosses ; and it
approached more to a Chinese than a Gothic
MASSTON. 5 1
style. It stood in the midst of a clump of
trees close to the Hall, and was sheltered be-
neath the green islands, flung in the air from
the arms of a majestic cedar. When all was
completed and the birds were installed, the
paradise was formally presented to Julia on
her twenty-first birthday.
Both Mr. Warner and Edith looked forward
to the raptures with which they expected Julia
would receive her magnificent eift.
But instead of bounding into the air like a
happy chamois, or expressing her surprise and
gladness in any original way, she kindly and
quietly turned to her sister and said —
" Edith, I will have no more birthdays all
my life — now remember ; " and she threw her
arms round her sister as if to bind her to a
Mr. Warner was a little disappointed that
she took no notice of him. But truth to tell,
Julia had a slight suspicion that this great
industrial exhibition of singers and layers of
eggs, was provided for her as a trap to lure
her into habits of usefulness. She grew out
of this suspicion in time, and showed some
gratitude to Mr. Warner.
Paul had really forgotten all about his mag-
nificent bird's cage ; but Julia brought it to his
recollection, and after dinner she invited him
to see her world of feathered creatures and
how she ruled it.
Paul was intensely delighted. The gloom
of the morning; had gone from his thoughts,
and the touch of vanity, which for a moment
had polluted his mind, had vanished ; for the
company of Julia Ascham and her pets in-
spired him with a happy humour which found
vent in praise and unqualified admiration.
Mr. Warner might well be pleased with
himself for the service he had done Paul in
carrying him to pass the evening at Baston
" Mr. Blanchard," he said as he and Edith
came up to the bird's cage, " I am delighted
to see you yourself again. Let us have no
more dull thoughts and useless regrets ; the
past like the future is in the hand of God
Paul, on whom anything of the flavour of a
sermon acted like hot acid on the skin, gave
Warner a look that, however well it accorded
with Miss Julia's own feelings, somewhat
startled and surprised her ; for it ill accorded
with the estimate she had formed of Paul's
" Dull ? " she exclaimed in a charming voice.
" Surely Mr. Blanchard can never be dull."
" People," answered Paul in deep baritone,
" are always dull, I should think, when occupied
with nothing but themselves. It is true that
this morning Mr. Warner found me in the
midst of gloomy thoughts, for I could think of
nothing but a waste of years, and myself as a
part of a heap of waste."
Edith's discerning ear detected what she
thought a fatalist's resignation in Paul's voice
and words. Julia's ear was differently con-
structed, and in her gaiety and naturalness she
" Why, Mr. Blanchard must be in love ! "
" Julia ! "
Julia took no heed, but turning as if she
were deaf to a highly intelligent starling, who
was standing on a round piece of turf sus-
pended from a bracket in the middle aisle of
the temple, she said to him —
" Jack, why have you given up singing ?
You don't even talk now ; and yet your beak
is of gold, your breast spangled with silver
stars, you have all the good things of this life,
you have no fear of the naughty place, you
are delightfully clothed, and above all these, I
love you, and yet these two days you have
been as dull, why — really as dull as Mr. Sweet-
apple. Are you in love ? "
Here a gray parrot, with its indented mouth
open at the corners, exclaimed in the voice of
a duck —
At which there was a little comical laughter
from birds as well as men.
They strolled away, and Mr. Warner took
occasion to tell his wife that Blanchard was no
doubt in love, for he had given him so to
understand, and that Julia was very quick in
Edith was pleased, and suggested that, now
Mr. Blanchard seemed in better spirits, Mr.
Warner might interest himself in his fortunes ;
perhaps matters of a purely worldly and
prudent nature stood in the way of marriage.
" I think Mr. Warner has something to say
to you, Mr. Blanchard," said Edith in her
winning manner, as she approached Paul, who
was strolling in measured steps by the side of
Julia — a smile on his face, and his hands
behind his back, like one who gives away
happy thoughts — or, like one who bestows
choice nuts on friends, cracking them, removing
the bitter skin from the kernels, and offering
them as delicious food. So Paul joined Mr.
Warner, and the ladies returned to the church
of the birds.
" Get married, Mr. Blanchard," said Warner.
" It will be the making of you."
Paul, who was by no means disconcerted
although a little surprised at the friendly advice
and the mellow tone in which it was delivered,
replied with much simplicity as of one who
had no doubt —
" If I ever marry, it will be with one who
is as likely to take me for a husband, as it is
likely I shall square the circle — or the squirrel
in yonder cage discover perpetual motion."
" May I know who the lady is, or what she
is like ? If there be any obstacle that I can
remove, I shall help you with pleasure."
" Who she is is almost as difficult to tell as
what she is like ; nor does that concern me. I
don't know who painted the lady who is
dancing in your dining-room."
"Oh, that was Gainsborough."
" It does not matter," replied Paul drily,
" although, now I know that a man called
Gainsborough fixed, for the world's gaze, in
colours so fair, a being so bright and sweet, I
shall want to see some more of Gainsborough's
" That you shall," returned Warner with
decision. " Is the future Mrs. Blanchard like
the picture ? "
" No ; she is more like an apple blossom,
to eyes whose only light has been the glare of
fire, or like a pillow of hops to a fevered man's
brain. She is like a white kitten. She is like
a bird whose song is softer than its feathers.
She is like a bee, or like the flowers from
which the bees suck their honey ; or, if she be
not like these, she makes you think of these as
you hear her speak, and look at her form.
She is like no other woman in the world, and
yet there is no woman with any delight in her,
who is not something like her."
Warner enjoyed Paul's rhapsody, and lis-
tened to it with almost hearty laughter, or what
sounded like laughter, being rather of the
quality of a cheer, perhaps, than of sympathy,
and a thing which rather becomes a patron,
than it distinguishes a friend. And he told
him to gird up his loins and try his fortune like
one determined to win, for win he must.
" She is, I think," answered Paul in a half
note voice, " far too happy to think of marrying
" People do not marry to be happy," said
Warner ; " they as often marry for pride. I
believe you could make any woman proud in
becoming her husband. How did you meet
" I made the acquaintance of Dr. Cumber-
ladge, through my friend Benjamin Jeavons,
who asked me to look at the Chapel of the
Hermitage Farm. It is a fine old relic of the
past. It only wants a new floor, a door, and
a few unimportant repairs to make it "
Warner had already divined the woman
whom Blanchard loved. He had stopped in
his walk to examine the hinge of a gate, which
he thought was broken, when Paul also stopped
in his answer. There was no broken hinge to
look at. Mr. Warner was looking at quite
another matter — invisible to human sight. At
last he came on to where Paul was standing,
having revolved in his practised mind a very
weighty matter ; which may thus be shaped :
" Blanchard is in love with Sarah Armstrong.
She may be induced to marry ; if that can be
brought to pass, one great load is removed
from my soul, and another is prevented from
being formed. That her boy will, one of these
days, return to Masston, I have no doubt ; it is
as certain as Quarter Day. Blanchard married
to Sarah Armstrong means no risk of former
things coming to annoy, perplex, and worry
Robert W. Warner."
" Mr. Blanchard," he said aloud, with some
cheerfulness, mixed with a slight trembling in
the sound, "you must marry. Instead of living
from hand to mouth — your days coming and
going, and bringing no permanent pleasure,
you ought to have a home, and a wife. Let me
persuade you to be in earnest. I shall interest
myself in your suit. I shall request to be
allowed to make a settlement. You have
served me nobly and well. I wish to make a
Blanchard, who observed nothing unusual in
the tone of the master of the Oxford Works, or
in the effusiveness of his words, laughed and
declared that he neither wanted pushing on nor
bribing in the matter of the white kitten.
" I think I will leave you now, sir," said Paul,
and was preparing to go when the ladies came
"Are you going, Mr. Blanchard ? Pray remain
to prayers," said Edith, quite good-naturedly,
and as if she were offering to the man of ideas
a supreme opportunity of enjoying himself.
" Thank you, I wish you all a very good
night," and then, turning especially to Julia,
MASSTON. 6 1
Paul said, " Mr. Warner knows another bird's
cage where sin^s the one bird that ever sang
to me." Julia was much pleased. Edith was
inclined to be offended ; Warner was a little
surprised and on his guard, as Paul left them
to talk over his eccentricities and betook him-
self to Summer Lane.
It happened some few weeks after the visit
to Baston Hall that one morning, Mr. Warner
casually meeting Paul Blanchard, said, —
" Pray, Mr. Blanchard, how may be the white
And Paul answered with more fire in his
brown eyes than Warner had ever seen there,
" The white kitten will one day, tell Miss Julia,
skip on my hearth."
At which Warner's face broke into a smile
it had not worn for many years. But this, like
all other happiness that fell on him, was purely
( 62 )
"Our little systems have their day." — In Memoriani.
" His worship ever was a Churchman true,
And held in scorn the Methodistic crew."
Edith Warner had, as we know, proposed
to herself in marrying the master of the Oxford
Works to become possessed of a power which
should enable her to carry out with activity
her schemes for bettering this weary planet, or
at least that portion of it with which she was
immediately concerned. When she went to
the theatre with Julia she had been as much
impressed by the aspect of the audience as by
the force of the actor who compelled their
thoughts or rather their feelings, for there were
too many who had never found time or oc-
casion for thought. She saw that many kinds
of men and women whose pursuits and persua-
sions were utterly at variance, were brought
into one and the same frame of attention and
emotion by means of words spoken and ges-
tures used in a certain fashion by one man, who
in her estimation was a soldier of Satan. And
the one thought which occupied her with re-
gard to this man was, that if he had been
trained for holy work he might have been a
worthy coadjutor of Mr. Gadso. From think-
ing this, she went on to desire that some force
might be employed to bring the many minds
of Masston permanently into one reverent
attitude regarding heavenly things, as she saw
them brought together for the space of a few
hours to gape and gaze at things of which the
existence was fictitious and air-drawn. The
project of uniting the various professors of
differing sects or creeds in one mighty effort
had lonof had some kind of unformed exist-
ence in her mind, and it now took shape. The
grandeur of the idea took possession of her.
She said nothing at the time, but the next
evening went to Mr. Gadso, asking him to
come and see her at the Hall with Mr. Sweet-
When Julia saw these two priests arrive at
the door, she said, with great deliberation, that
she must go and attend to her birds ; and her
surprise when Edith, with some alacrity, pro-
posed that they should all accompany her, was
not altogether joyful. She led the way in
silence and in a discontent which was evident
enough to Edith, by the fact of her snatching
up to cover her head a distorted sun bonnet
for which it was well known that Dodo the gray
parrot had a strong hatred not unmixed with
Edith, on their way to the great cage, opened
at once upon the two clergymen with the ques-
tion that was a^itatin^ her mind.
" Why should not Church people and Dis-
senters — I do not mean Jews or Unitarians —
you have taught me rightly to divide them —
be united together in one army, to meet the
common foe, all animated with one burning,
aspiring spirit, with no rivalries"
" That weaken, or splits that dishonour," said
Mr. Sweetapple, wrapping up the sentence with
as much neatness as if it had been a skein of
silk, and he a mercer's shopman.
" This is no new idea— of course, I received
your note," said Mr. Gadso, addressing Edith
in a professional, endearing tone, " only it has
failed — perhaps from being attempted on too
grand and p-orsreous a scale. But the ele-
ments which divided first the Church at
Jerusalem, and, subsequently, the Churches
of the West, no longer exist with us. The
Jew has long since entered upon his wan-
" I asked you to come," said Edith, whose
earnestness sometimes landed her near to
being rude, " in order to get my own thoughts
upon this matter more clearly defined : I mean
on details. I have spoken, but in a very slight
way, of something of this kind to Lord Lime-
VOL. II. E
thorpe, who seemed struck with the plan, and
at once suggested that you should be con-
sulted. If you think the plan is possible, I
will see Lord Limethorpe at once, and we can,
I think, together call on the principal dissent-
ing ministers, and arrange a meeting at my
husband's works. It was his idea that if such
a meeting could take place in the midst of
the large population we design to benefit,
a strong and lasting impression might be
"Of course," answered Mr. Gadso, bowing,
and glancing inquiringly at the sky.
By this time they had reached the palace of
the birds, where they found Julia, who had
gone before them, scolding the grey parrot
into a caressing attitude.
" What a charming picture ! " said Mr.
" Yes," responded Edith quickly ; " does not
this point directly to our work ? Here is the
type of that unity among those whose differ-
ences are only in speech and appearance, which
we should aim at."
On which Mr. Sweetapple remarked to Julia,
with careful selection of phrases, " How good
and pleasant a thing it is to see such unity
among creatures so different. But that, of
course, is due to the sweetness of your
"As for their being different," said Julia,
" they are all birds, and the ' sweetness of my
sway,' " she added, with a hint of gentle mimi-
cry, " might not keep peace among them unless
each kind had its own house."
" But for your guidance, Julia," said Edith,
looking at Mr. Gadso, " they would never be
able to talk."
" Very few of them can talk," was the reply,
" and they only repeat what I teach them."
" Af karse," observed the parrot, in a voice
strangely like one that had already made the
" Julia," said Edith, with some haste, " could
you keep all these birds so successfully unless
you had them all under one roof ? and do you
not think that they like this companionship ? "
" And might not the fellowship which is so
good for birds, be good, in a higher sense, for
Christians ? " said Mr. Gadso, with a winning
smile, which required a trained intellect, or a
very natural lady, to resist.
" I think," said Julia, with more care for
what she was saying than was usual with her,
" that if these birds, who seem to be so happy,
and, also, certainly give me much pleasure, had
never been caged, they might have found more
happiness after their own fashion. I am certain
if their cage were now broken up, and the birds
left to themselves, each one would cling to its
own bit of wire-work, and die there of help-
" That is not our point," said Mr. Gadso,
who could not be at the pains to discover
Julia's meaning. " We are speaking of the
happy union in which the birds are now living,
and this is precisely what your sister wishes for
our fellow- Christians."
" I think," replied Julia, looking up at the
starling-, who held his head on one side, "that
I know more of birds than of Christians."
Upon which Mr. Gadso laughed a laugh of
gentle triumph, the meaning of which was
readily caught. Edith and Mr. Gadso now
stood apart, while the younger priest glided
nearer to Julia, and said with an alluring
" These birds are very happy."
Then, moved by a design to share in Julia's
pastime, he offered a condescending finger to
the grey parrot, who eyed him sideways with
a crafty look, and, with great deliberation, took
revenge for the affront of Julia's sun-bonnet
by snapping the finger in his beak.
Mr. Sweetapple, who was even more terri-
fied than hurt, drew back. The parrot laughed,
and Julia, raising herself admonishingly on her
toes, said —
" For shame, Dodo."
To which the parrot replied, in a clerical
" Quite so."
"You are a naughty bird," continued Julia,
who well knew the strength of her favourite's
beak. " How dare you bite people who wish
to make friends with you ? "
For answer, Dodo flattened his feathers,
raised himself to his full height, and danced
up and down, without moving his feet, in
" I hope you are not hurt," said Julia to the
" Oh dear no," said Mr. Sweetapple, flatten-
ing each vowel as it passed through his teeth,
and feeling perhaps a little shaken as to the
aptness of some of Mr. Gadso's similes.
That day Edith carried out her project of
visiting Lord Limethorpe, who was easily
charmed into compliance with the spirited
undertaking which she proposed. Accordingly,
MASSTON. 7 I
on the morrow the Lady of Baston and the
Lord of Limethorpe raised the standard of
religion, and went forth to beat up recruits
for the army which they proposed to assemble.
" There can be no doubt," observed the
ancient gentleman, as they travelled to the
town in a capacious carriage, " that you are
right in omitting Unitarians from this scheme,
and I almost think you should leave out the
Edith, whose toleration went a little further
than Lord Limethorpe's, said that she had
already made the acquaintance of a distin-
guished Friend, who had voluntered at once to
join in their project. To which Lord Lime-
thorpe, with a tinge of annoyance, answered —
" Oh, very well."
Little more was said until they reached the
house of the Rev. Camel Bustler, an Indepen-
dent minister, to whom some credit must be
given for living among the people to whom he
preached. Mr. Bustler received his visitors
with what can be best described as a holy
insolence — a blow is none the less a blow
struck with a bishop's crook than with a
bludeeon — which £ave some offence to Lord
Limethorpe, and but for Edith's tact and
earnestness, it is possible that her colleague
might have thrown up his commission. Lord
Limethorpe had frequently lectured others in
the spirit, though not in the manner, of the
lecture now addressed to him by Mr. Bustler,
and this was no doubt the cause of his irrita-
tion. Mr. Bustler was ready to fall into their
plans, but reminded them that if any hearty
co-operation was to exist between himself and
the members of the Establishment, they must
meet on an equal footing.
Edith, not knowing on what ticklish ground
she stood, explained that this was precisely
what she had in view. Had her knowledge of
Christian churches been greater, her enthusiasm
would have been less. Lord Limethorpe only
stared grimly at the ugly portrait of a man
remarkable for nothing- but a very wide mouth,
which hung over the fire-place. When at last
the interview was over, during which all re-
mained standing, the minister dismissed them
with a somewhat familiar blessing.
As they went on their way, Lord Lime-
thorpe said to Edith —
" A vulgar fellow that ; don't you think so ? "
" Consider," said Edith, " the people among
whom he lives, and to whom he devotes him-
" I hope," returned her companion drily,
" that we may find a little more gentleness in
the next man we visit."
" He," said Edith, consulting her tablets, " is
a Wesleyan, the Rev. Newton Snape, and
I think we are close to his door."
In effect, the carriage stopped at this
moment, in front of a modest, or what was
made to look like a modest house, whose
whitened step leading to the black painted
door, which stood between two windows, hunqr
with fine muslin, gave to it a widowed expres-
sion of front. The door was opened by Mrs.
Snape, who was apparelled in the same fashion
as her dwelling, and she greeted the expected
visitors with much cordiality. Mr. Snape, to
whom they were presently introduced, was a
man with whom preaching evidently agreed,
and he looked as if he had never been guilty
of a single act of backsliding, which he did not
fail to remember in his acts of daily thanks-
The meeting- was much more agreeable
than that with Mr. Bustler, but Lord Lime-
thorpe was greatly exercised in trying to un-
riddle the mystery of Mr. Snape's content.
The minister's talk was unassuming and
practical, like the tray of cake and wine
which Mrs. Snape, with primitive courtesy,
Lord Limethorpe, with profound politeness,
assured Mrs. Snape that he never drank wine
"Really," answered the gentle mother in
Israel, " we never drink wine at all at dinner ;
this is cowslip, will you not partake ? "
Lord Limethorpe, with fresh expressions of
gratitude, took the small glass, directed the
conversation to Mr. Snape's labours, and, in a
moment of abstraction, placed the wine on the
mantlepiece, and left it there.
When they reached the carriage again he
said to Edith, in the tone of one who had seen
a vision —
" I shall continue to think that people have
just as much right to leave the Church, and set
up a new worship, as they have to make cowslip
wine." And in that the noble lord was doubt-
less expressing tolerance which would have
satisfied Milton himself, but he was uncon-
scious of it.
Other visits followed which need not be
described, and while Edith was rewarded
for the fatigue of the day by a marked
unanimity in the acceptance of her plans,
Lord Limethorpe was rewarded by the grati-
tude of Edith.
It should be stated that more than once the
kind-hearted nobleman was strangely moved as
he found himself during their visits for the first
time in close contact with a force which much
resembled satire, not the cold-hearted satire
which withers or repels, but that soft and
summer breath which has been said to pass the
power of storms. One instance will suffice.
They called on a man whom they found work-
ing at his trade in his own house, who was,
nevertheless, one of the leading preachers in
Masston — but whose views were peculiar ; for
he used to say that rather than take money for
preaching he would pay something for the
privilege, and after telling Lord Limethorpe
that his lordship did not know what he was
talking about, he commenced to quote the
following lines from our great epic : —
" The Great Architect
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
His secrets, to be scanned by them who ought
Rather admire ; or if they list to try
Conjecture, He His fabric of the heavens
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter. When they come to model heaven,
And calculate the stars, how they will wield
The mighty frame — how build, unbuild, contrive
To save appearances — how gird the sphere
With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er
Cycle, and epicycle, orb in orb."
Lord Limethorpe, who had never heard these
lines before, and thought that the little man
who had quoted them must be mad, conceived
so great a dislike and disgust to the whole
fabric of dissent and what he judges to be its
Greatest crime, that he said to the eccentric
preacher in an arrogant tone: " The man or
the people, or the system, that can represent
the Almighty as one capable of laughing at the
ignorance of His own children, or as contrivine
His works to contribute to His amusement at
their expense, can only be bad, and do bad,"
and he left the house abruptly, leaving Edith
to follow him.
The little workman-preacher laughed most
heartily, and Edith, who shook hands with
him, was glad to get away.
That evening Lord Limethorpe sat over his
solitary wine thinking over the events of the
day, and could compare the part he had played
to nothing else than that of a low electioneer-
ing agent. He rang the bell for prayers, which
was answered by a troop of well-trained, hand-
some servants, perfectly modest in their
demeanour, and looking as if they were being
trained for some saintly calling ; the good old
lord was his own chaplain, and the last thought
which occupied his reverent mind was one
which did honour to his good-nature. Recall-
ing the lines from Milton which the working-
preacher had quoted in the morning, he went to
sleep with the firm resolve of never doubting
that God Almighty was a gentleman.
( 79 )
" Good the more communicated the more abundant grows."
— Paradise Lost.
The larger and the lesser stars move in equal
harmony. The wheel of a barrow which carries
homely fruits and herbs to market, and the
wheels of the gilt coach which conveys the
Lord Mayor to the palace, obey the same laws;
therefore it should cause us no surprise to hear
that, while the plans of Edith for uniting the
religious people of Masston to each other, and
all to heaven, had met with great success, the
less ambitious aims of Benjamin Jeavons to
sweeten the earth for some of its most wretched
children, were crowned with happy results.
Edith, too, had her sublunary charities, as
we have seen already, in the regulation of
female labour at the Oxford Works. It was
likewise through her influence that the wives
of such workmen, who so willed it, received
their husband's wages at two o'clock on Satur-
day afternoons. On the very first Saturday
afternoon after the visit of the Masses to the
courts of Lear and Macbeth, introduced to their
Majesties by Paul Blanchard and Benjamin
Jeavons, the latter received at least fifty ladies
at his provision shop, who were anxious to
exchange their market money for such neces-
saries of life as he undertook to supply. Nor
did Jeavons close his store that night until a
very late hour ; for not only had he to weigh
out butter and sugar, count eggs, reach down
bread, cut up bacon, and divide cheese, he had
also to use much explanatory speech, in unfold-
ing his method of business, and how he and his
customers were to benefit thereby. The more
simple and clear his statements, the more had
he to enlarge in commentary. So accustomed
had these people been to the taste of adulter-
ated food, that it not only corrupted and de-
MASSTON. 5 1
based their tastes, it darkened their reasoning
powers, and it required a multitude of words,
many times repeated, to enable them to appre-
hend the meaning and bearing of two or three
words of weight. The plainness of Jeavons'
shop, the singularity of his proceedings, the
order in which things were kept, all struck
upon the beholder's senses as something un-
common and therefore suspicious. Everything
purchased likewise had to be entered in a led-
ger, and each buyer received a small memoran-
dum book, in which was set down the amount
of money laid out. Jeavons explained this
proceeding as follows : — " If you buy the same
amount of provisions next week, you will have
paid for your admission to the theatre ; and if
you go on buying for twenty-five weeks longer,
each week to the same amount, I shall then
have the pleasure of paying you back thirty
shillings ; and if you go on in like manner to
the end of the year, you will then receive a
little more than three sovereigns. "
VOL. II. F
How some of the poor women laughed in
derision, how others smiled with a dubious
shake of the head, and some begged that he
would take care and not hurt himself, for that
the things they bought were cheaper and better
than they had ever bought before, need not to be
set down here. On the following Saturday the
shop in Summer Lane could not contain the
crowd which gathered there, larcre numbers
had to wait outside ; all came with their market
baskets, to carry away the things whose quality
had carried their own good fame into many
a household. It had even got bruited about
that by buying their weekly provisions at Mr.
Jeavons' shop they could pay their weekly
rent ; a thing which looked like magic, for it
was beyond all understanding. Good Mrs.
Ruckles, who was one of the first customers,
being a woman of quick and comprehensive
charity, seeing how hard pressed Mr. Jeavons
was for help, offered to serve out the potatoes.
" Very well," was the reply, " but I must pay
you for your labour ; if you can spare me three
hours of your time, I will spare you a pound of
the finest butter you ever tasted."
' ■ But I don't want nothing ; let me do it for
love ? "
" You can do it for love, and the butter as
well," said Jeavons, very busy with other ladies,
his face keeping a serene but good-natured
expression, which conveyed an idea of helpful-
ness, truth, and honesty, mixed with a deter-
mination that could not be trifled with.
The famous stenographer, who had stolen
the parson's sermon, was also on duty, doing
the writing, that is, entering the things sold in
one book, and the amount of money laid out in
the memorandum book of the buyers. Tom
would also be paid in kind for his labours.
Thus, without their knowing it, some of the
dreams of the reformers of society were being
worked out in Jeavons' little shop, and more
than one ancient practice, which the advance of
civilisation has obliterated from the world, was
restored in one of its neglected corners, to the
great profit and blessing of many people who,
up to this time, had lost all trace of happiness,
and who never enjoyed one poor chance of an
exchange of helpful sympathy with a single
The effect on Jeavons himself, was greater
than any produced on his customers. The
fountains of his heart, hitherto closed, or, at
best, only occasionally set flowing, were broken
up : his customers became his personal friends,
their profits made profit for him ; — the love
with which Mrs. Ruckles worked, mixed with
Sarah Armstrong's butter, was not more sweet
and fresh than the pure joy which welled up in
Jeavons' soul, as he saw the steady progress of
his labours, and out of the triumph he had won
over imposture and lies, and the meanest form
of thieving, there came into what had hitherto
been a very practical life, a gleam of poetical
Within the space of only a few months, he
had to pull down his barns, and built greater,
but without any thought of taking his ease : he
was compelled to take more spacious premises,
and he opened another and larger shop in the
centre of the town, and there the crowds of
consumers of bread and bacon still pressed in,
for the simple reason that there they could pro-
cure better food and more pleasant things than
elsewhere, also more just measure and exact
" Why, Benjamin," said Dr. Cumberladge, as
that kind-hearted, but now somewhat subdued,
old gentleman entered the new premises one
morning, "you will become a great man yet,
Jeavons, who well enough remembered what
the Doctor had said on that subject some time
before, replied that he did not think so. But
that if the Doctor meant by a great man, a
man happy and blessed with some content, then
he was a great man already.
" Benjamin," answered the Doctor with great
deliberation, and with much feeling, " it is an
awful thing to be happy."
" Yes, and there is a kind of happiness which
we are able to bear only at times, and at long
intervals ; but, I think, sir, that many men are
unhappy, because they undertake to do too
much, or what is beyond their strength. I know
it was so in my case. Then again, how much
happiness is lost by not doing the very simple
things which require to be done every day.
We get proud ; and ill-content to do things
that are as easy as winding up a clock ; and
yet, if we did not wind up the clock, we should
never know the time of day."
" I dare say you are right, Benjamin," said
the Doctor with a sigh. " After all, it is not the
little or the much that occupies us :
' Many things perplex,
With motions, checks, and counterchecks.'
I sometimes wish that it were time to die."
"And 1" replied Benjamin, regardless of, or
not heeding the sorrowful sighing of his friend,
'am only just beginning to discover what a
fine thing it is to live."
" How did you find out that riddle, my
good friend ?" inquired Dr. Cumberladge, with a
" Just by opening my eyes," returned the
other. "Within the past few weeks I have
seen many human beings, who were fast bound
in misery and iron, take heart and hope again,
and the sight not only helped and refreshed
— it remade me.
' In that hour,
From out my sullen heart a power
Broke like the rainbow from the shower.'"
" I see, Benjamin, that we have both been
reading the new poet, which is a delightful
compliment fate seldom allows her subjects to
enjoy together. Do you believe in the ' hidden
hope ' on which he discourses ? "
" I believe in the yEolian harp," was the
reply, " for I have heard it," remarked Benjamin
with unaffected meekness.
" 'And feel, although no tongue can prove
That every cloud that spreads above
And veileth love itself is love.' "
" Is that so ? " inquired the Doctor recover-
ing a little some of his wonted good-nature.
" That is precisely so," answered Jeavons
with earnestness, and continued —
'" Forth into the fields I went,
And Nature's living motion lent
The pulse of hope to discontent.'"
" This is very remarkable ! " exclaimed the
Doctor cheerfully. "I came here for an account
which lies between you and my friend Sarah
Armstrong, and I find that, like her, you are
much more eager to talk poetry than settle the
price of butter. Pray, did you get this new book
from her, or did she receive it from you ?"
" I believe that she received it from my
friend Paul Blanchard. He and I first read
it together, and then he carried it to the Her-
mitage. It is a very wonderful book. It has
already, to my knowledge, turned several apes
" And to my knowledge," mused the Doctor,
"it has made a most charming woman talk like
" I wonder," inquired Jeavons, in a general
way, as if it did not much matter, and who
saw the Doctor relapse into a brown study,
" I wonder if the poet knew that his words
had transformed apes into men, and women
into angels, it would make him very proud or
very happy ? "
" It would unquestionably make him both
proud and happy," said Cumberladge, whose
tone had changed a little from sadness into
what might be called an echo of pleasure — as
if before he had smelled nought but the mould
in which grew the rose, and now, like another
poet he was fond of, he smelled the rose
above the mould. " I know it by experience.
By the way, is not Sarah Armstrong a connec-
tion of yours ? " inquired he, casting a sudden
and searching glance at Jeavons.
" A distant connection," was the reply,
" Sarah's father and my father were cousins."
There arose a slight blush on Jeavons' face,
the cause and meaning of which the Doctor
was anxious to know, and accordingly set
himself to discover.
" How, might I ask, is it that you never
cared sufficiently for her as to make inquiries
about her after you found that she had left her
home so suddenly ? "
" I never heard of it till many years after-
wards ; and, when her mother died, it was then
the old man, her father, told me of it, with
much and bitter sorrow ; and that she had
gone away because of some hard words they
had given her, and that she had come to
Masston. But I never heard of her. I did
make many inquiries, but without any result,
and never heard her name until you mentioned
it some time ago, when you told me she was a
friend of yours."
" And not then," remarked the keen-eyed
Doctor, " did you ask any questions."
MASSTON. 9 1
Jeavons still felt a slight tinge of shame, and
it expressed itself in his face. For, what the
Doctor said was true, although the construc-
tion which the saviour of Sarah Armstrong
placed upon the expression on Benjamin's
countenance was wrong. He might have
told Dr. Cumberladge that he once loved
Sarah Armstrong, and for her had suffered
the first and only pangs of love, but that one,
whom he despised, coming between him and
her, and so ousting him from the lists, had
chilled his heart towards her, and changed
what might have ripened into the passion of
love into a commonplace feeling of quite
another kind ; but he was too proud for such
confessions, and he remained silent.
" Do you know nothing of her ? " demanded
the Doctor. " Did her father never tell you
explicitly why his daughter left her home ? "
" Her father died in my arms," was the
reply. " His last last words were ' Sary,
Sary, come thee ways back again home.' And
so he died. He never spoke after that, and I
never heard anything of Sarah."
" Would you not like to see her ? "
" She would not care for me, and I suppose
we should not know each other now," said
Benjamin, a trifle disconcerted.
The Doctor, convinced that Jeavons knew
nothing of Sarah's story, resolved upon going
a step farther, and said, " I never turned an
ape into a man, Benjamin, but I believe that I
saved Sarah Armstrong from a cruel death —
and, let me tell you, that the only house in
which she ever slept after leaving her own
home was mine — the only home she has ever
known since then is the Hermitage Farm, and,
on her account, I know what it is to be both
proud and happy. Let me see," he continued,
changing his tone and taking out a note-
book, " you owe to Mistress Sarah Arm-
strong ^26, 13s. for butter. Is that correct ? "
" It is a little more than that, I think," said
Benjamin, proceeding to examine his journal.
" Very well, you must pay up. I will cer-
tainly take no less, and as much more as you
like. How much may your buttership have
made by way of profit ? "
" Exactly £2, is. 8d.," replied the reader of
Tennyson, and vendor of genuine butter.
" That is hardly enough," remarked the
Doctor in an inquisitive tone.
"It is enough for me. You know, sir, I
provide some profit for the buyers."
"If you don't take care you will have the
big dealers down upon you, for spoiling their
trade. By the way, what a rare fellow your
friend Blanchard is, I believe he is deeply in
love with Sarah."
" So I gather from Paul," said Benjamin in
a neutral tone. " Do you think she cares for
" That," replied the Doctor good-naturedly,
" will depend on me. She will do nothing
without my consent. What we shall do when
we lose her I cannot begin to guess. I dread
to think of it. All I can say at present is, that
I will not stand in the way of Sarah's happiness.
Will you come to the wedding if we ask you ? "
" I would walk there in bare feet, if the way
were paved with flints."
" No, no," said the Doctor, feeling the taste
of a forgotten joy ; " you shall come in her
father's shoes. But I must say good-bye now,
or I shall be late for dinner." And Dr. Cum-
berladge left Benjamin Jeavons' shop with a
much lighter heart than when he entered it.
( 95 )
• • There have been men whom even vulgar and tavern music, which
makes one man merry and another mad, strikes in them a deep fit of
devotion, and a profound contemplation of the First Composer."
— Religio Medici.
While Edith and Jeavons went on, carrying
out their different schemes of benevolence, the
one for supplying the helpless people of
Masston with wholesome food, and the other
for curing their souls, and both were more or
less contented with a work that, after all,
would probably amount to sprinkling a house
on fire with a watering-pot, or at best the rush-
ing of a rapid river into the proud and careless
ocean, Paul Blanchard was raised to happi-
ness far higher than theirs by the discovery of
a new world. He had asked Warner to let
Julia know that the white kitten would one day
skip on his hearth ; a request whose daring
could only spring from the illumination of his
whole being. He was like the heroes of fairy
tales, whose bear-skins at a magic touch drop
off to reveal the prince beneath : for, from the
fact that he was not despised by the woman
whom he felt to be far above him, he had
learnt that his gracelessness was not wilful, and
his wickedness only skin deep. From the day
when he first saw Sarah, he had felt bound to
convey his new self to her who was its author.
He made many visits to the Hermitage Chapel,
and every interview with her gave him at once
the desire and the power to become, in his own
mind, more worthy to approach her. He felt
like one who escapes from the streets and alleys
of a cramped life, into the summer of the world ;
like one who has been torn with pain, and now
is soothed with the rocking of the waves, that
bear him further and further into the sunlight.
All this did he feel, and yet found no words to
tell it to the woman whose existence was a
revelation to him. At length one day he left
Masston burdened with intention, and laid his
burden at the feet of Sarah.
" I love you," he said.
Sarah drew suddenly back from him. There
was no rejection to be learned from her face,
but there was an alarm in her look and action
which filled Paul with amazement.
" You do not repulse me ?" he cried passion-
" I said," answered Sarah with some agita-
tion, " I would be your friend."
" But I," said Paul, "love you and would be
your husband." He took her hand ; the trees
bowed gently through the windows ; the
knights looked down approvingly ; and a
glad light streamed through the ivy porch,
as Doctor Cumberladge strolled into the
" Good morning, Mr. Blanchard," he said
in a welcoming voice. " Are you going away,
VOL. II. G
" Yes," she answered, and went quickly to-
wards the house.
Before Paul, who looked anxiously after her,
could give any voice to his contending feelings,
the Doctor said —
" So you don't think there is much to be
done to the chapel ? "
To which Paul answered with audacity,
" There is nothing in the chapel now."
" So you think — so you think," remarked the
Doctor regarding Paul attentively.
" I am sure," said Blanchard, " that the only
way to restore this lordly old ruin, will be to
turn it to some happy use."
" Stop ! " exclaimed the Doctor, " we must
speak of this."
" I don't want to do anything else," replied
Blanchard, opening wide his hands, and putting
himself erect as if to court the most searching
" Of course, I know," continued the Doctor,
beginning to walk up and down with his stick
grasped behind his back, " that you have been
making love to my dear friend Sarah Arm-
" I am glad that you know it," said Paul ;
" and if my telling you, what I have already
told to her, will help me, I will ask you to do
for me what you can."
" Ha, hum," said the Doctor ; " you know my
friend Jeavons, I believe. He could tell you
much of Sarah, and no doubt he has."
" I don't want anybody to tell me anything,"
said Paul ; " I know Jeavons, I am glad to say,
well enough, but I have never asked him any-
thing on this matter, and he has never told me,
although he knows of my coming, and why I
" Nevertheless," said the Doctor, " it is
necessary that you should know something
which I alone can tell you. I assumed
the charge of my friend Sarah's happiness,
and I must fulfil a duty to her as well as to
I OO MASSTON.
The Doctor, schooling Blanchard to silence
with an imposing gesture, proceeded to say —
" I would rather sever this arm from my body
than that any pain should come to my friend.
She has had enough already, which she has
outlived. She is perfectly happy with us,
and I will not allow the past to overtake
The Doctor then told Sarah's story as he
knew it, suppressing only Warner's name and
all clue to it, and said —
" Now, you know all. Act for yourself. I
will promise you no help, nor will I be any
obstacle. I have discharged my duty to you,
but ask me any question you like. Will you
come in now and see my wife ? lunch will be
Blanchard, whose old sins came back in a
new light to him after hearing the Doctor's
recital, felt his passion, if subdued, deepened.
His attitude might well be mistaken by the
friend of Sarah, who saw his drooping head,
but did not know that Paul was then discover-
ing- the full meaning for him of words he had
pondered before, —
"That men may rise on stepping stones,
Of their dead selves to higher things."
Presently he raised his head and said with
some emotion —
" I shall be glad to see Mistress Cumber-
ladge, of whom I have heard so much."
They went inside the house, where Paul
found not only Dame Cumberladge, who re-
ceived him like a gracious queen bestowing a
boon, but Sarah Armstrong, seated by her
side. In front of Sarah sat Dolly Cumber-
ladge, much like her mother in the fulness of
her quiet gaze and the grace of her person,
but really more like her father in the quality
of her mind, and in the decision of her cha-
racter. Shirley Cumberladge, the son of his
mother, and like her in all things, stood behind
Sarah's chair, and brother and sister seemed
to make of themselves two guards, prepared to
lose their lives in defence of one whom they
As they sat together at lunch, Paul ventured
on the suggestion that Shirley would become
a doctor after his father's example.
" He would rather be a knight," said Dolly,
" but then, as he says, there's no work for
knights to do now."
" I know some knights," said Paul, looking
at Sarah, " but they are dead ones, who have
done some good work lately."
" Those must be the knights in the chapel,"
said Dolly with a laugh.
" Mr. Blanchard," remarked the Doctor,
" must be a poet ; he has fantastic whims
about these old knights; and, I confess, without
claiming to be a poet, so have I. At times
their stony eyes chill me so that I grow stiff
and motionless, and stone looks on stone."
" How different we all are," said Sarah, look-
ing steadfastly at the needlework in her hand.
" The first time I saw these knights, they
carried me back to very early days, when I
read the story of Mr. Greatheart, and the more
we have cleaned away the rubbish from the
chapel and got more light, the greater likeness
do I see between all these knights and that
bright and shining one. He might have been
o £3 o
a Cumberladge, I think."
" Then you still believe in your Mr. Great-
heart being a real person," said Dolly.
" Do not you ? " asked Sarah.
" No," said Shirley, " Dolly has lost such
beliefs, since she took to reading a different
kind of novel."
" Do you read novels, Miss Cumberladge ? "
" I have sat up all night reading novels,"
was the answer, " but that was when I was
" And now that you are an old woman of
three-and-twenty," said the Doctor, " you have
given up such vain things ? "
" No, father, I have not given them up. I
should be glad to read even the story of my own
life put into a novel, only it would have to be as
true and beautiful as a portrait by Sir Joshua."
" I had long had a notion," said Paul, turning
his words in Sarah's direction, " that we get
our taste for novels from the early use of look-
ing-glasses, and now I am convinced that this
is true," on which there was some pleasant
" How these two children of mine," observed
the Doctor, " ever took up the reading of
romances is a painful mystery to me."
"Oh!" said Dolly, "why did you not tell
me this before, I could have cleared up the
mystery years ago. It came from "
"Stop!" cried the Doctor, "do not tell me.
There is nothing I like better than to keep a
mystery on hand which I know I can solve
when I will."
At that very minute a boy's figure crossed
the landscape, in that part at which Dolly was
gazing. She saw this figure at play with her
little brother Shirley. At the same moment
Dame Cumberladge heard a child's voice say,
" Are you not my mother ? "
" When I was a boy," said Paul, in mys-
terious sympathy with these unbidden thoughts,
"books did not come to me, nor was I taken
to them. My eyes caught the shapes of
things on hedges and in trees, and I shall
never forget the first time that I saw the eye
of an apple ? "
" Do you not mean the apple of an eye ? "
inquired Dolly, who had a playful furtive
glance for everything.
" No," said Paul, amidst much laughter, " I
mean the thing opposite to the apple's tail."
"This proves again," said Sarah, who was
fond of such simple talk, " what I said about
the different impressions people get from the
same thing-. I am sure I never looked at an
" And pray what did you see in it ?" inquired
" I saw a star," answered Paul.
Sarah and the rest glanced at him, but saw
nothing in his face that answered to his
"A star," he went on in a very practical
tone, " of which thousands are now made at
the Oxford Works every week in brass. And
the apple's eye was the beginning of my being
Mr. Robert Warner's chief designer."
The Doctor looked at Sarah when Warner's
name was spoken, but saw in her no trace of
a recollection that the name was once dear
to her. And Dame Cumberladge raised her
eyes which met Sarah's in a glance of per-
fect calmness and repose. Nor was there a
tremor in Sarah's voice as she said to Paul,
" And did you learn nothing from the apple
" I learned," said Paul, " to love many things
which recall to me the apple's beauty."
" Why, this," said Dolly, " is almost as nice
as a novel."
" Come," said the Doctor, " we have had
enough of novels ; let us go for a walk."
They passed into the fields, Sarah and
Dame Cumberladge together, Dolly kept close
to her father, with Paul and Shirley accom-
panying them. Presently, as they passed
along the hedgerows, they came upon clusters
of ferns, which apparently no one had planted
and certainly no one regarded ; their dry curled
fronds giving them an expression of heedless-
ness for any company save their own. But
in spite of their dryness and indifference, there
were eyes which were accustomed to regard
and to find in them much beauty and some use.
"If everything," said Paul, breaking away
from the Doctor to join the Dame and Sarah,
" had its reward in this world, these ferns
should have a number of pounds sterling, which
I have kept for myself. But since they will
not, or cannot, share their profits with me, as a
reward, let me do them an honour they will
So saying he cut off their heads and pre-
sented them to Sarah.
" What ! " cried Dolly, " is this the way you
reward your friends ? "
" Of course," said Paul in his fullest voice ;
" what better fate could I wish them ? "
" There are plenty of precedents," said the
" How very clean," said Sarah, " ferns always
are ; they are beautiful when alive, but more
beautiful when dead."
" I don't know," said the Doctor in a youth-
ful voice, " which I would rather have," and
here he took Dolly round the waist as if he
were her lover ; " a quantity of lovely things to
look at — or a mind that sees loveliness in
everything it sees."
" I believe that Sarah," said Dolly, " could
even find something nice to look at in a pig-
" That is not very difficult," said Sarah ; " four
little pigs' noses, clean and bright, tossing them-
selves at you, as if asking for something which
you can only give them, make a very pleasant
" If you go on at this rate," said Dame
Cumberladge with her accustomed sweetness,
"we cannot tell how much we may learn by
looking at things afresh."
" Stars in the calix of an apple," said Shirley,
"gold in dead ferns, prettiness in pigs' noses."
" And," quoted the Doctor in his didactic
vein, " good in everything."
As they continued their stroll over the
buttercups, it seemed that they belonged all to
one family, and that one spirit ruled them all.
Late that evening Paul left the Hermitage
Farm, whither he was to return next day,
through a darkness which brought him much
pleasure ; in it was there no sadness, and no
fear, only the rest that was needed for the
strength and splendour of life, which he knew
would come. And that pleasure was increased
as, passing under the sombre silent boughs
I IO MASSTON.
which overarched his path, he felt that he
could tell them a story of gladness which they
knew not yet. As the lights of Masston came
into view, he looked back on a soft darkness,
sorry to leave it for the vulgar certainty of
the Mare that lighted the restless nicrht of
While this palmer passed through the streets
of Masston, careless now of their vulgar and
tavern music which had once attracted him to
madness, there came towards him another
pilgrim who bore a thyrsus rather than a palm ;
who was as much in love as Paul was, and on
whose ears the clishmaclaver of the streets fell
equally unheeded. This second lover had one
advantage over Paul Blanchard in knowing
that his love would be returned ; the object of
it being none other than the delicate self
known by the name of Lord Francis Elbston,
cousin of Lord Limethorpe, who was the friend
of Mr. John Buckle, and with him the real
origin of the Oxford Works. If the pious
creditors of the master of that famous manu-
factory, to whom the stability and excellence of
Robert Warner were things as instinctively
known as their own wealth, could have guessed
that under their windows there was passing,
with a jaunty step, a young man who might at
any time turn their treasure to dust, their sleep
might have been troubled, or their thoughts
perforce diverted to laying up some sort of
treasure which thieves could not steal. For it
often happens that when a man has failed in
making a profit out of both worlds, he betakes
himself eagerly to drawing cheques which
can be dishonoured only by his own want of
faith in the security. With such reflections as
these, however, Lord Francis was the last
person to be disturbed. He had ever a con-
fidence in his own resources, or rather in the
provision of resources made for him by others,
which had helped him successfully through a
sea of trouble that must have swamped any one
weighted with thought or care of consequence.
I I 2 MASSTON.
Upon this sea his daring emptiness had safely-
It becomes necessary to recall the circum-
stances of Lord Francis's connection with
Up to the time of his flight from England,
compelled by the discreditable transaction
already referred to, Mr. John Buckle, the
possessor by inheritance of the business which
afterwards grew into the Oxford Works, had
been in the habit of supplying Lord Francis
with money. Master John, as his friends
called him, was impelled to do this by a desire,
common enough in Masston, to bask in the
sunshine of aristocracy. This sunshine was
freely offered by Lord Francis, who knew well
how to turn his charm of manner into a com-
mercially valuable possession. Mr. Buckle
overshot his mark in that, in his eagerness to
make his pursuits inseparable from Lord
Elbston's, he took an obnoxious part in the
disabling of " Traveller," the famous horse, who
MASSTON. f 13
stood to win the greatest stake of the Folk-
shire race. At this time such an undertaking
had the merit of novelty ; and the friends of
Lord Francis, his uncle among them, when they
were afflicted with moral proof of the dis-
honesty of one of themselves, made an effort
to prevent any legal proof coming to light by
helping the two men, who might possibly
degrade their caste by being found out, away
from the reach of conviction. The matter was
so well managed, that no one out of the pale of
Lord Francis's close acquaintance could venture
to mouth any suspicion he had ; while, on the
other hand, this state of things might have
been endangered, had Mr. Buckle remained in
Masston. Whether from desire to repay his
friends' kindness by helping a tradesman to
step over their heads, or for some compunc-
tion towards his disciple, when he learned that
Buckle had made over, on certain conditions, his
father's old-established business to Robert War-
ner, Lord Francis, before he left the country,
vol. 11. h
I 1 4 MASSTON.
appointed Warner as his agent over various
lands associated with the Limethorpe estate.
The lands then were apparently worthless, but
if Mr. Warner, in his office as agent, could turn
them to value, then a certain defined reward
was to come to him. Lord Francis retained all
legal claim over these acres, for to the courage
of his race, he united an eye for eventualities ;
and while Mr. John Buckle, the follower,
skulked out of Masston, Lord Francis Elbston
marched out of it, as one not altogether with-
It was to such insistance as he could, that
Lord Francis now returned. As he strolled
back to his hotel through the bulging opulence
of Masston, perfectly satisfied with his wisdom
in the step he had taken, he passed Paul Blan-
chard, the man whose genius had quickened
the wealth he had come to seek. But it was
not given even to the trained eye of a disgraced
aristocrat, to discern the spirit of all things.
( n5 )
" Certes this world a stage might well be called,
Whereon is played the part of every wight,
Some now aloft, anon with malice galled,
Are from high state brought into dismal plight.
Like counters are they, which stand now in sight
For thousand or ten thousand, and anon,
Removed stand perhaps for less than one."
— T. Newton, Mirror for Magistrates.
The proposed meeting at the Oxford Works,
which had given rise to so many hopes and
fears, left nothing in tone or tint, up to a certain
stage of it, to be desired even by Lord Lime-
thorpe. The conjunction of decorum with piety
produced a display of excellent manners and
an exhibition of good taste. The good old
lord was surprised into admissions for which he
would have been unprepared the day before.
Mr. Gadso was shaken in a few matters of
ecclesiastical etiquette, and confided to Mr.
Warner, that rather than forego the happiness
which such a meeting conferred, he would give
up preaching in his gown : and was willing
that the Act of Uniformity should perish rather
than the cause of true religion should cease to
be honoured by a commingling of its profes-
sors such as had taken place that morning.
But there is nothing perfect in this world,
and enterprises of great pith and moment, as
well as a man's finest pleasures, have been
thwarted before now by the most frivolous
excuses and the most trivial of events.
It was proposed that a formal account of the
happy meeting should be drawn up and signed
by all who had taken part in it, and the record
"Sign," said Lord Limethorpe to Mr.
Gadso, but the reverend gentleman refused
with much meekness, saying, "No; your lord-
" I am only a layman," replied his lordship,
and this is a meeting of clergymen and mini-
sters, an official representation of the leading
evangelical churches, which, we trust, may one
day come into the unity of an active co-opera-
tion. I shall sign, of course, as chairman of
the meeting, and therefore last."
This was decisive. Mr. Gadso thereupon
signed, and added B.D. to his name, which
was remarked upon in silence by our dissenting
brethren. After writing his name, Mr. Gadso
handed the pen to Mr. Sweetapple, who
followed with M.A. Our Methodist brother
thought these distinctions worldly and uncalled-
for. The Independent looked upon them as
offensive. So did the Baptist. But nothing
was said. Mr. Sweetapple gracefully shirked
the responsibility of handing the pen to any
one, and laid it down. The Wesleyan at once
pushed his way to the table, took up the pen,
signed, and kept his place without making
way for another, like one who, having gained
an advantage, is unwilling to relinquish it on
light or trivial grounds. The Independent
minister, a dark, awkward man, with the ac-
quired manners of a blunt, outspoken, original
thinker, advanced to the table, and stretched
out his arm to take the inkpot from its buhl
stand, intending to carry it to his own corner,
and enjoy the pleasure of writing his name
under circumstances of his own creation. In
those days buhl inkstands were not so severe
in design as now, but were very elaborate
things, and it was not so easy as it looked to
extract a massive glass inkbottle with the
points of the fingers from what seemed to be a
miniature chevaux de frise. But this the Inde-
pendent minister proceeded to do. By a most
unlucky and painful accident the heavy inkpot,
but slightly held between the fingers, slipped
from its holdings and fell, and with it fell its
contents on to the spotless white trousers of
Lord Limethorpe. There was a movement
amounting almost to a commotion. But Mr.
Gadso was equal to the occasion ; he gave out
the first line of the Doxology, which was sung
MASSTON. € 1 9
with surprising vigour, pronounced the bene-
diction in his best manner, and the meeting was
over. Each man left the room with the rapidity
with which a medical man has been known
to leave church during the morning service
on receiving an urgent message, even though
his way lay up the middle aisle. Lord Lime-
thorpe, the only person not greatly discon-
certed, walked quietly away, carrying his hat
in his hand, till he reached the door, looking
as calm and unconscious as if he were walking
out of St. Paul's on a Sunday morning. He
was followed by Mr. Warner, who said with
much earnestness —
" Let me send for a cab for your lordship.
I am quite distressed at this."
" I am much obliged, I should be glad of
And the lord and the master of the Oxford
Works remained together in the outer room
while the cab was sent for. No words passed
between them. When the cab arrived his lord-
1 20 MASSTON.
ship said, " Good morning, Warner," in a cheer-
ful voice. Away went the cab, and Warner
returned to his own room, and was speedily
engaged in profound commercial thought. Not
more than a few minutes appeared to have
elapsed before Lord Limethorpe returned,
and in a somewhat hurried manner entered
Warner's room, and began looking under the
table, and on the table, near to where he had
sat during the meeting, and where Mr. Warner
was sitting then.
Before Warner could speak, Lord Lime-
thorpe said in an abrupt tone of voice —
" I left my pocket-book on that table, close
to where you are now sitting."
Warner, who was much surprised to see
Lord Limethorpe, was more astonished at his
peremptory manner, and the words he used.
Indeed he was dumb with astonishment. At
last he said —
" It is quite impossible ; your lordship must
MASSTON. 12 1
" I am never mistaken, Mr. Warner, when I
make a deliberate statement."
" What, or whom, does your lordship sus-
pect ? " said Warner, changing colour, as a mon-
strous and terrible thought flashed across his
" I suspect nothing. I repeat what I say — I
left my pocket-book on that table."
" I trust nothing of any value or importance
was in it," replied the other with trepidation.
" Had there been nothing in it of value
and importance," said his lordship, " I would
not have troubled myself, being in this
plight, to come back here ; " looking Warner
in the face in a very determined manner, and
as if he were in the heat of a theological
Warner was in the utmost consternation.
The appearance of Lord Limethorpe, with the
great splashes of black ink on his white clothes,
his fists clenched, and daubed with writing-
fluid, his hat jerked more than half-way off his
head, his face red, and his whole attitude
menacing, produced very mixed emotions in
Warner's mind, in which horror and surprise
contended with alarm for the mastery.
" Do you think that I have got your pocket-
book ? " inquired Warner, rising to his feet and
speaking in a tone of voice that greatly agitated
" I think nothing," was his lordship's reply ;
" I only know that I left it on that table."
It is not unlikely that this blunt question,
asked in vulgar tones, and with a low and
vulgar expression on the face, was suggested
by Lord Limethorpe's appearance. How was
it possible for a man like Mr. Warner, with a
firm faith in the infallibility of clothes, to feel
otherwise than something approaching con-
tempt for one who but just now was a dignified
lord of the realm, and who had, as if by some
devilish magic, been changed into a chimney-
Warner's face changed visibly. A new
thought seemed to seize him. He ran to the
door which communicated with the yard, and
in a loud voice called out —
" Nield, ring the fire-bell, close the front
gates, and let no one leave the works."
Warner had trained his hands to troop down
in orderly discipline whenever the fire-bell was
rung, which was done at unexpected intervals
for the sake of practice.
He returned to the room, where he disco-
vered Lord Limethorpe inconsistently searching
his own coat pockets. Warner began to do so
likewise, each man looking the other in the face
with staring eyes, and a turbulent movement of
the shoulders ; the fire-bell making a hideous
clanging noise all the while, which made the
windows tremble, and added fresh energy to
the motions of the two anxious men.
At the sound of the bell a thousand men,
women, boys, and girls, poured themselves out
of numerous shops and rooms into the great
quadrangle. All the hands came down in
1 24 MASSTON.
rapid yet marshalled array, some carrying
buckets, and all on the alert.
" There is no fire ! " cried Warner, in a voice
of thunder, as he appeared on the upper step
of the flight which led into his room. " I am
pleased as usual with your prompt and orderly
movement. Stay," he added, in eager com-
mand, as he saw signs of departure among
some of the crowd.
All eyes were now turned towards Warner,
whose pale and anxious face caused no small
amazement among the people.
"If there is no fire, then, what is there ? there
must be something up to make the gaffer look
like that." " Blest if he doesn't look as if he
had seen a ghost," were some of the remarks of
the people made in confidence to their friends.
Warner advanced into the centre of the yard,
and called around him the heads of the depart-
ments, some of whom were standing outside the
crowd. These he addressed in bold and rapid
words, telling them that, to his great sorrow
MASSTON. 12 5
and indignation, it appeared that a robbery of
a most daring nature had been committed that
morning in the Oxford Works ; that the person
robbed was none other than the Lord Lime-
thorpe, and his lordship it was who made that
charge. " I have called you together in this
sudden manner in order that we may convince
Lord Limethorpe of the utter impossibility of
such a crime being perpetrated on these pre-
mises — premises which, I am proud to say, ever
since I have been master of them, have never
been soiled by the committal of one immoral
or criminal act.
" You will all be searched," he continued.
" This, my friends, is only a form, but it is due
to you, to me, to these works, and to Lord
Limethorpe, that this form be gone through. I
have searched myself, and each of you shall
search the other, that all may share in the plea-
sure and the triumph of your innocence as well
as my own being established."
This ostentation was natural to Warner.
No one knew better how to turn an occasion
of seeming defeat to advantage. Of course
if he had not implicitly believed in the utter
impossibility of any one of his people being
implicated in a charge of such enormity, he
would not have gone through the expensive
ceremony he was then conducting with so
much satisfaction to himself. It would occupy
at least a couple of hours, which, being equal
to the loss of two thousand hours of work,
made it a costly parade indeed.
Warner kept his place on the temporary
stand, looking around with confidence, his
handsome features being now flushed with a
pleased excitement, and the deadly whiteness
of his face having gone away. His practised
eye soon detected a few irregularities, which,
the novel employment the hands were then
engaged in, naturally brought to pass. So, he
called out in commanding tones, " The men
must search the men — the women, the women.
You boys, all fall in on one side."
MASSTON. 1,2 7
Suddenly there was a great shout of merri-
ment. It arose on the appearance of Lord
Limethorpe on Warner's door-step, from which
his lordship's inky garments came into the full
view of the crowd. He descended, and made
his way to where Warner, in a proud attitude,
stood facing the hands.
" I assure you, Mr. Warner, that it was the
farthest thing from my thoughts to accuse any
one of taking my pocket-book. I accuse no
one ; much rather would I accuse myself. I
have been trying with all my might to find
the missing book, as I would have given the
world to have found it in one of my own
pockets. I say that I suspect no one — nor
accuse any one of rob — take — having my
pocket-book," said Lord Limethorpe, with
much stammering and real feeling.
Warner, thoroughly believing in Lord Lime-
thorpe's mistake, assumed a cruelty of manner,
partly natural, partly designed — or the design
was suggested by his cruelty.
" My lord, I believe you," said he, address-
ing not Lord Limethorpe, but the people before
him. " Some mistake has, no doubt, been
made. Your lordship has evidently got very
excited. I was made angry myself, but I
must now be allowed to take my own mea-
sures, and do what I think right."
There was now a coarseness in Warner's
demeanour which delighted some of the
hands, for they saw that their master knew
how to speak up to a lord, without being
Warner was carried out of his artificial self,
and the real Robert Warner, who had lain
concealed beneath the veneer of refinement,
religion, and respectability, with which, by his
own will, and the aid of a commercial people,
he had been able to coat himself, appeared in
his true colours. Even to himself did this
appearance come with as much surprise as it
could have borne to those who had watched
his career from its very beginning.
Shaking himself free as if from some mo-
mentary danger or weakness, he called out in a
loud imperious voice —
"Where is Mr. Reklaw ? "
" Here, sir," replied that worthy, who had,
but just a moment before, arrived on the scene,
and was standing behind his master.
" I do not see Mr. Blanchard."
" He is in his room, sir," answered Mr.
Reklaw in a low voice.
" Send for him at once. It is my desire that
all be present at this investigation. I wish to
be surrounded by all my people."
Warner said this with a haughty toss of the
head, and a fling in the air of his right arm,
evidently intended for the much-enduring lord
who stood wrapt in sadness close by.
The carnival of search went on. Men and
women were standing in grotesque attitudes
with their pockets turned inside out. More
than one daring fellow, lost to all sense of
decorum, if he ever possessed any, might be
vol. 11. 1
seen stretching out the pockets of his trousers
between thumb and finger, and putting on his
face a saucy, imploring look in the direction of
his employer. A wretched boy, ragged and
dirty, who must have been a very recent
comer, ran up to Lord Limethorpe with his
shoes in his hands, his head thrown back
between them, and his mouth very wide open,
to give his lordship the opportunity of " search-
ing his gullet."
And many other similar playful familiar-
ities were taken by the crowd with their friends
and companions that need not be repeated,
which although not very witty to us yet pro-
voked mirth in them, and in a general way
proved their innocency of the charge laid
against some person or persons unknown.
The speculations of the people on the pro-
bable contents of the missing pocket-book were
numerous, and showed how strong in them was
the imaginative faculty. They took it for
granted that the contents could not amount to
MASSTON. I 3 I
less than several thousands of pounds in bank
" Whadiyou know about bank notes ? "
" Whyihaheardun say as how youcan hev
fithousand pound in a single note."
This was disputed with much heat by the
ladies, among whom the controversy diverged
into a free exchange of sympathy of tastes, in
such things as bank notes of great value could
purchase. The conversation was fluent, but
the ideas were few. One lady, distinguished for
her expressive face and her parti-coloured eyes,
whose print gown reached only a little below
her knees, and who was appealed to as " Sal,"
on being asked what she would do with five
thousand pounds if she had it, replied in great
humility, " My eyes ! if I know."
Others volunteered their ideas on the same
subject with a ready cheerfulness as if it were
matter of frequent meditation, while some
again were utterly bewildered like little children
cooped up in a gloomy room being suddenly
exposed to the strong beams of a mid-day sun.
The chatter was closed in a burst of laughter
by a feeble creature with pale hair, and meek
gray eyes set in pink rims, saying, as if suddenly
inspired with a great idea, that if she " only
had five thousand pound she would have a
On the whole the ignorance of these people
was very pitiable; there was no lack of good feel-
ing amongst them, and there might have been
abundance of good humour, but their brains
were clouded with care, as a field long since in
Chancery is covered with thistles, where not
even a butter-cup or daisy would condescend to
take root and grow. But coarse as they were,
they were not depraved. They had seen
better days ; the days when some kind of
human duty, not too hard to do, had kept them
willingly occupied — for the doing of it brought
some growth and pleasant fruit — now they
were chained to a dull round of toil which
took their senses captive, and made them feel
that they were doomed to an everlasting task
which grows duller, and still more dull every
day which creeps upon them, and which shall
continue to creep and crawl down to the last
syllable of recorded time.
Lord Limethorpe, who had been conversing
with Warner on quite different topics, here
raised his hat to the master of the Oxford
Works, and was taking his leave, when a
sound, so sudden and so harsh, rent the air,
that he turned to ascertain its meaning. It
was an unearthly sound, and to him seemed
as if hell itself had broken loose and was crying
havoc on the world.
Three of the superior clerks had hurriedly
entered the yard, one of whom carried in his
right hand, which was raised on high, a purple
leather pocket-book. On the instant the people
divined that the missing book with its roll of
wealth had been discovered — that it had been
stolen, and the thief detected.
Warner stood like a statue. As the clerk
1 34 MASSTON.
handed to him the pocket-book he clasped it
in both hands, which he raised appealingly to
heaven amid the execrations of the mob. He
continued in that impressive attitude until the
cries and hootings abated. Then turning to
Lord Limethorpe he asked in an uncontrollable
" Is this your pocket-book ? "
" It is," replied Lord Limethorpe, looking
Warner started as if he had been shot.
" Where did you find this?" Warner inquired
in agitated words.
"We found it in Mr. Blanchard's coat
pocket ! "
" Blanchard ! Blanchard ! Mr. Blanchard,"
was quietly passed through the crowd until it
reached the ear of a short pale-faced man in
remarkably clean linen, who exclaimed —
"Mr. Blanchard! oh! that be damned!"
and walked away.
There was now a hush. Every human being
could hear himself breathe. In the midst of
the sudden silence, Warner was heard to say in
a hoarse voice —
" Nield, take Paul Blanchard into custody."
Nield was the watchman of the Oxford
Works, and, as every one knows, Mr. Warner
was one of the magistrates of Masston.
( 136 )
" A distracted conscience here is a shadow or introduction into hell
hereafter." — Sir Thomas Browne.
" Faust. — How comes it then that thou art out of hell ?
Meph. — Why this is hell, nor am I out of it."
— Marlowe s Fans/us, i. 5-
A strong man, torn with vexation, may be
likened to a dog chained to a wall, whose
frantic efforts to free himself from bondage
cost him nearly his life. Mr. Warner was like
an angry chained dog. No one dared to go
near him, his sudden grief made him terrible
to look upon. The Oxford Works were now
stained with disgrace ; and infamy of the
deepest dye would for ever be associated with
their name. All his religious sentiments were
scandalised, his most cherished feelings out-
raged. He sat down in a corner of his room,
and in agony began to imagine what his friends
MASSTON. I'3 7
and great acquaintances would say when the
terrible news should reach them, and from
time to time as the name of some fresh person-
age occurred to him, and a new light was cast
on the designer's crime, he would ejaculate,
" My God ! " People would now believe any-
thing that was put into their heads. Any lie
started against him would be made to look
like damning truth. How could he face his
wife ? Had Mr. Gadso kindly gone and told
her of the meeting ? It would please her to
know that, but for the untoward accident of
the inkpot, it had been a charming success.
But now, after all her efforts, her anxiety, her
hopes of this to which she had looked forward ;
she would learn it had been the occasion of
crime and disgrace ! What would she say ?
There must be in some part of the unseen
universe intelligent beings, who, not yet ripe
for the refinements of the higher spheres, are
set to watch the ways of men, and learn
the effects of disobedience to heavenly rule ;
the fate of the hypocrite, the discomfiture of
impostors, and all such as practise the arts of
deception on themselves as well as others.
For the same weighty reason it is to be sup-
posed, that these heavenly probationers in-
dulge in laughter as they keep their watch.
If that be so, and we have no evidence to the
contrary, there must have been great mirth
amongst them as they watched the miseries of
Mr. Robert Warner as he sat that day in his
room, the front of his head occupied with his
own wickedness, his cerebellum with the
wickedness of others and the possible conse-
quence thereof to himself ; and not one spindle,
handle, wheel, or crank, in the whole of his
intellectual or moral machinery, equal to the
task of producing one single spark of hope.
There have been men before now who have
caught the sound of demon's laughter, and
there and then changed their minds, altered
their ways, and turned straight out of the evil
road in which they were walking into the paths
of right. But Mr. Warner's ears were too dull
for such catching of heavenly sounds. Say
what he would, it was not Paul Blanchard's
stealing Lord Limethorpe's pocket-book and
being found out, which occupied his tortured
brain : it was the conviction that he was ofoine
to be found out himself, which brought the
great beads of sweat on to his capacious brow :
it was not what Edith would think of Paul
Blanchard, but what she, and all her great
friends, would think of him, her husband,
when she and they should come to know of
his thefts, and his other crimes whose names
were at present only known to himself. These
thoughts spread a horrible blackness over
Warner's intelligence, and amonsj other things
deepened his foolish conviction that Paul
Blanchard, in view of his approaching marriage,
had adopted this means of enriching himself :
" The blackhearted fool ; I would have given
him twice the amount with a free hand rather
than this should have happened." Warner
spoke these words with the desperation of a
man for whom heaven had no councils nor
earth one helping hand.
" The carriage is waiting, sir."
Warner mechanically rose and walked out of
the room. Once in the fresh air, new thoughts,
but of the same hue, continued to fret him.
" How could this wretched thief now marry
Sarah Armstrong?" That was for ever out of
the question, and many other things also, for
ever and for ever out of the question. How
many fresh fears had been started ? Just the
number of the hopes that had been slain.
The carriage rolled on, but Mr. Warner's
painful thoughts kept pace with its swift
wheels. He would °fet out and walk. This
small effort was a slight help to him in trying
to restore order to his confused spirits, now in
as great a tumult as was the mob in the quad-
rangle of the Oxford Works in the early part
of the day. On alighting from the carriage a
thought struck him, and he told the coachman
to " drive back to the works and tell Mr.
Reklaw that he must come and see me to-night
at the hall."
The coachman, who knew there was some-
thing amiss, and glad of the opportunity to
carry some news to his co-mates of the stable
and the servants' hall, who were but little
blessed with means of gossip, drove back as he
was ordered without the slightest token of dis-
As Warner walked leisurely on, passing by
one or two grand houses, and catching glimpses
of others in the distance equally imposing, his
courage rose, and his mind began to clear as
his sympathies with riches and power became
quickened. No more pious or profane ejacu-
lations rose to his lips. Elbston Hall came
into view with its hundred front windows all
ablaze with gold. When the old lord should
die — and he could not in the course of nature
be expected to live long — he, the master of the
Oxford Works, might have the honour of
making the mistress of Baston Lady of
Elbston. That one inspiring idea brushed a
hundred cobwebs from the inside of the house
in which Warner lived. Yonder in a grove of
trees rose the square tower of Elbston Church,
steadfast, upright, unyielding, receiving the
rays of the sun as if it were appointed to pre-
serve them against a rainy day. Here the
relieved pedestrian passed by a field enclosed
in an ornamental fence, where there were
painted cows feeding, in refined deliberation,
undisturbed by a single care or an anxious
thought. And right before, coming- towards
him along the road were two ladies ; one tall,
firm, high-bred, in strict keeping with the
church tower — the other more in keeping with
the golden air which danced among the leaves
and played round the patient creatures who
were rejoicing in the sweet grass. The one
was his wife, the other her sister.
" You must let me surprise him," observed
Julia with much gaiety to Edith.
As the two ladies drew near, Warner threw
off the early troubles of the day, and he became
occupied with other cares more easy to deal
with than those which had cast such awful
shadows on his soul. Besides, with Julia to
help him, the conversation would not only be
free, it might be gay. But Warner could no
more remove the trace of painful conflict from
his face, than a river can cleanse its bed of
slime. Edith could not refrain from noticing
her husband's face. But she said nothing.
She had become accustomed to disappoint-
ment. It had but too frequently happened,
that the florid promises of the morning, became
changed into drizzling doubts and clouded fears
by night-time. She watched the face of her
husband in silence, and, when a wife takes
to such reading, and reads without comment,
it is very likely that some jarring chord exists,
which self-respect alone keeps from being
" Who do you think has been to see us ? "
inquired Julia in her usual sprightliness of Mr.
Warner as they drew near.
Warner, who was in no hurry to answer, but
saw by Julia's face that the visitor could not be
any one connected with the day's trouble, said,
turning to his wife —
" Let me hope it was some one you were
glad to see. I myself have very sad news
to tell you. The meeting was every way
successful. Did Mr. Gadso come to see
Edith simply shook her head. She saw that
what she had longed and prayed for contained
some distressing alloy.
" A terrible, I may say a very awful, thing
has happened at the works. I am utterly over-
come and unmanned by it ; I am distracted.
Oh ! " he continued in his best, earnest manner,
" if you could now tell me that it was nothing
but a dream, I would fall down here on my
knees and thank and bless you. Lord Lime-
thorpe's pocket-book, containing much of value,
was stolen from my own room during the
prayer-meeting by the — a — the designer."
Warner could not, or would not, trust himself
to mention the designer's name, and although
both ladies knew well enough to whom allusion
was made, neither said anything. It was too
painful and inexplicable. To Julia it was as
impossible that Paul Blanchard could be guilty
of an atrocious crime as that she could steal
her birds' wings, and use them to fly up into
the sky. To Edith, who, as we know, had
more defined knowledge than her sister, the
unregenerate heart was liable at any moment
to be overtaken, and led into a temptation,
which it had no power to resist. She had
always regarded Paul as being in a dangerous
state, and though she was hurt to the quick,
she was not surprised.
" How was the discovery made ?" inquired
Julia, the old Ascham spirit rising within her.
" His lordship's book was found in the
designer's pocket," was the reply.
VOL. II. K
This was conclusive.
Julia, seeing Mr. Warner to be unaffectedly
troubled, and Edith with her eyes closed, her
lips painfully compressed, and her face ashy
pale, thinking to relieve the gloom of things by
a little brightness of her own, repeated her
former question to Warner, " Who do you think
has been here ? "
" Pray tell me, if it interests you," was the
Julia, who had prepared a little pleasant
surprise, now feeling that nothing she could
say would mend matters, remarked care-
lessly, "It was only my very old friend Lord
Francis, whom you have heard me speak of so
" Lord Francis ! " exclaimed Warner, in a
voice which not only opened Edith's eyes, but
gave Julia the impression that the speaker had
been shot. " How dare he ? It is impossible !
He could not have asked to see me ? "
"Why, he left us to go to you," said both
ladies, who regarded Warner's agitation with
"He spoke so highly of you," continued
Julia, " that we thought you must be delighted
to see him, and I was delighted with the hope
that you would certainly return with him to
dinner. He spoke of you with warm admira-
tion, which caused me great pleasure."
Warner was now as much puzzled as per-
plexed. Had his acquaintance with the polite
world been greater, his perplexity would have
increased. Dissimulation was natural to the
master of the Oxford Works, it was a recog-
nised and necessary element in business ; but
the polite dissembling by which the commerce
of cultivated people with each other is carried
on, he held to be sinful, the very cankerworm
of society ; certainly the evidence of its rotten-
ness and corruption. Had Warner known that it
was only by Lord Francis speaking such grace-
ful lies of himself to the ladies, that his lordship
could obtain the knowledge he required, and
that in telling Mrs. Warner and Julia that he
was on his way to Warner when he left them,
the adroit and ignoble lord was simply angling
for the help of two charming allies, Warner's
suspicions might have taken some definite
shape, and his alarm had certainly been
deepened. He was now thrown back on him-
self, the uppermost dread in his fearful soul
being that if the treacherous trick on the Bristol
merchants, years and years ago, were now to
be brought to .light, they might accuse him,
even him, the chief man in Masston, of stealing
Lord Limethorpe's pocket-book, and when
detection became inevitable, causing it to be
conveyed into Paul Blanchard's pocket, nor
would there be wanting many people who
would believe it, black and horrid lie though it
were. This introspection and self-communing
made him incapable of perceiving the approach
of a danger far greater than any he had
They walked leisurely on to the Hall, for
MASSTON. 1 49
some time in silence, which was broken by an
audible sigh from Edith. Her troubles were
none the less light because they were indefinite.
Had she discovered the difference between the
cares we make for ourselves, and those which
are made for us by others ? It is but too
likely. She was not a lady of great mental
powers, nor were her associates any more than
herself careful to distinguish strong opinions
from intellectual strength. Like many more
exalted women, Edith Warner had learned to
walk by faith. It was a sweet luxury. She
could barely toddle when she ventured into the
paths of reason, and this brought her much
bitterness. She sighed and hardly knew why.
Perhaps some spectre, waiting for a darker
hour in which to reveal itself, had crossed her
mind to intimate its existence, and prepare her
for something that would one day surely come,
take up its abode in her soul, and remain with
her for ever, as a torment from which there
should be no promise of escape. Perhaps not,
1 50 MASSTON.
although spectres are much more common than
we think for, and there are spectres of the day
as well as of the nisjht.
Truth to tell, Edith's married life had
brought her no married joy, and the very object
for which she had married was further off now
than it was when she was Edith Ascham.
Edith Ascham likewise appeared to be dead.
She had been courageous and beautiful — a
smiling, free-hearted woman, loved by dumb
animals, feared by common men. And now
she was careful and troubled, not about
servants, or money, and such paltry cares as
belong to the pantry, but about the great globe
itself, its Maker and His plans ; and these cares
and troubles all owed their existence within
her simply because, instead of marrying for
true love, she had married the power and
influence of Mr. Robert Warner. Warner, too,
had his cares, but they were of a kind with
which he could do battle, and find some
increase of strength or boldness spring from
the conflict. Edith's cares, on the contrary,
robbed her of strength, as the sweet but perni-
cious food, which first decoys and then kills the
victim for whom it is prepared, or the child
who unwittingly partakes of it.
" Edith, were you not much pleased with
Lord Francis ? " inquired Julia, as they walked
under the trees but without noticing them.
" I was a little entertained by the story of his
travels," replied her sister, in the tone of voice
of one shivering with cold. "He is greatly
" For the better ? " inquired Warner, glad
to have something to say.
"He was always a gentleman, and full of kind-
ness, and is so still," said Edith, speaking confi-
dently from a very limited knowledge, and on a
matter on which any one with a wide experience
would have pronounced a very different verdict.
Julia, who was walking in front of them, here
turned suddenly round, and playfully curtsied
to her sister for the character she had be-
1 5 2 MASSTON.
stowed on her friend. Both sisters had only
known the reprobate when he was on his best
behaviour, or in his gayest moods. They knew
nothing of his life, his ways and manners
among his fellows, or the nature of his connec-
tion with the world. Warner knew nothing
but the worst of Lord Francis, and the men-
tion of his name a^ain brought the shadows of
night on his face.
" How I wish he would come back and live
near us again," said the careless Julia.
No response was made to the wish, and all
walked on to the Hall as if they formed part
of a funeral procession entering a church.
That night, after dinner, Mr. Warner was
the first to rise from table. " I shall not
be in for prayers," he said to his wife as he
rose and left the dining-room for a smaller
room close by.
There was something so uncommon in this,
that his wife and her sister were compelled to
notice and speak of it. It was the first time
MASSTON. f 5 3
in their married life that Mr. Warner had
allowed the cares of business to interfere
with the spiritual duties he exercised in his
The small room in which Warner had shut
himself was furnished with books. A pleas-
anter place to sit in no heart could desire; the
furniture made it so, as well as the mellow light
with which it was filled. Warner was proud of
good company. He had wrought miracles by
it, for he made grapes to grow on thistles,
or what in Masston was almost the same,
he made men believe that his thistles were
vines. Who could doubt that the husband of
Edith Ascham, the friend of Lord Lime-
thorpe, the master of the great Oxford Works,
a pillar of the Church, and a magistrate, was
a gentleman and a Christian ? Who could
believe him to be a scoundrel and a liar ? It
was simply incredible. And in this charming
room, where he now sat, surrounded by the
world's greatest, best, and wisest of men, all
dressed in morocco and gold, this pink of
impostors, made himself believe that he was
one of them. Why not? He was familiar
with the works of prophets and apostles,
was included in the crlorious inheritance
won and left by martyrs, and was a friend of
the Most High. Thrones, principalities, and
powers, were mere steps on which he should
mount to immortality ; and we are not to
wonder, therefore, that a superior being of this
description should be able to make grow figs
and grapes on thistles and thorns. What
£Ood was there in bein^ intimate with the
head of the department, if you could not use
him for your own private ends ?
Mr. James Reklaw, who had received the
message of his master through the coach-
man, duly presented himself at the Hall,
and was received by Warner in the morocco
" Sit down, Mr. Reklaw ; will you take some
wine ? "
" I should prefer brandy," was the disagree-
Warner rane* the bell and ordered some
brandy to be brought. " I have sent for you," he
said when his ferret's needs were supplied, " to
learn the latest news you can give me of what
they say in the town about this awful crime."
" They don't say much, sir," said Reklaw
" Not much ! " cried Warner in a tone be-
tween relief and surprise.
" Not what I call much. Everybody knew
that Blanchard was going to be married, and
everybody thinks that he wanted to feather
Warner rose and took two or three turns
moodily about the purple room, pondering over
this coincidence with his own thought. Reklaw
followed his master's motions with cunning
" Mr. Blanchard's rise at the works was
very sudden, sir," said Reklaw, watching the
effect of his words. " I have heard say that
his visits up here at the Hall gave him high
notions, and turned his head."
" They say that, do they ?" observed Warner,
sharply stopping in his walk. " What do they
say of me ? "
" They say that a better master never lived,
and it will go hard with Mr. Paul Blanchard,"
answered Reklaw, feeling great comfort and
relief and a pleasant sense of freedom.
" I want particularly to ask you now, James,"
said Warner, " did you see Blanchard at the
prayer-meeting ? I asked him to come, but he
"Why, sir, he stood right behind you and
" Are you sure ? "
" I saw him with my own eyes."
" Did you speak with him ? "
" No, sir ; we are not on speaking terms."
" How is that ? "
"He insulted me once before a lot of the
MASSTON. I 5 7
hands, and I have had hard work to keep order
amongst them. Ever since that going to the
play, there has been a spirit of insubordination
creeping up, and I'm determined to leave the
works. I can't stand it any longer."
Helping himself to more brandy, he rose
from his seat, and added, apparently in pain,
" I would like to leave now."
" That I shall not allow," said Warner
"You can't force me to stay," replied Reklaw
with growing insolence; "not for twice the
money you gave your favourite Blanchard,
who has done more mischief in the works
than can be undone in twenty years. Be-
sides, I shall not only leave you, I want to
leave this country. Australia's the place to
make money in."
"What would you do in Australia, Mr.
Reklaw ? " asked Warner with a quietude that
cowed the other's coarse insolence.
"Well, sir," he answered, looking side- ways
on the floor, " I might get some goods con-
signed to me for sale out there."
" Do you mean from the works ? "
" Or from Messrs Birtles, Bright, and
Brush," said Reklaw, still keeping his uncer-
tain eyes on the carpet.
" I might have known this was coming," said
Warner to himself. But he betrayed neither sus-
picion nor displeasure as he said to Reklaw —
" I believe you can serve me there better
than anywhere else." Then taking out of his
pocket an ostentatious gold watch — a habit
with him so great, that he frequently obeyed it
unconsciously, he inquired, " When would you
like to sail ? "
Reklaw, completely abashed by Warner's
courage and promptness, answered, " Well, sir,
I believe I might serve you out there, and I'd
rather serve you than any one else."
" Then set about your preparations," said
Warner with the decision of a chess-player
who sees the end of the game from the move
he is about to make, " for a speedy departure ;
you will get whatever money you require.
And now we will say Good-night."
" Good-night, sir," responded Reklaw, offering
his hand to Warner as if he had just returned
from the Colonies after a loner residence there.
Warner rang for his servant, to whom he said, '
after opening the door for Mr. Reklaw, " Take
away the brandy and open the windows." Then
so pleased did he feel with himself that, finding
there was yet time, he went into prayers.
Reklaw, no less pleased at getting more than
he expected, and with so much ease, was laud-
ing the astounding- greatness of his master, and
trudo;inor down the lane towards Masston,
when he found his progress marred with
" Ax your pardin', Mr. Reklaw," said a voice
which he recognised ; " I must have a sove-
"Why should I give you a sovereign ?" re-
" For the same reason which obliges me to
ax for not one but five : five's about the num-
ber as will do for me just now."
" Which way are you going ? " inquired Rek-
law with assumed carelessness, but not by
any means liking the insolence of the young
" I'm not a goin' anywhere just yet, leastwise
till I eret them five couters."
" You will get five knuckles, if you don't
On this the Masstonite said in a whining
voice, " Leastwise, you will give me two and a
" I will give you one now," said Reklaw,
" and you can come to my house to-morrow.
I've something particular to say, and may do
you a good turn you little expect."
" I'd rather 'av another sovereign now," said
the rough complainingly.
" You'll get it to-morrow, I say," answered
Mr. Reklaw, who hurried away, followed at a
distance by one for whom he knew he must
Mr. Reklaw went to bed in a somewhat per-
turbed frame of mind. He would liked to have
poisoned the Masston rough, but not being
equal to murder, resolved on an act of kid-
On the other hand, the last thing Warner
was heard to utter that evening, was the ques-
tion, whether he should ask Lord Francis to
dinner the next day.
Julia, to whom the query was addressed in a
smooth voice and a manner quite changed,
resenting the evident unhappiness of her sister,
gave no encouraging answer to a question that
was designed to give her pleasure.
( ««* )
" I beseech you let his lack of years be no impediment to let him
lack a reverend estimation ; for I never knew so young a body with so
old a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall
better publish his commendation." — Merchant of Venue, iv. i.
Reklaw had wilfully misstated the facts when
he told Mr. Warner that not much was said in
Masston reofardinor the theft of Lord Lime-
thorpe's pocket-book. Much was said, and
more was done. The disbelief in Paul Blan-
chard's guilt was general, and was delivered
from many mouths in the highways and by-
ways of the town. Dr. Cumberladge and
Jeavons had given bail for him at once, and
this fact would have added, if any addition
were needed, to the popular trust in his inno-
" I suppose," said, soon after Blanchard's
arrest, a little old man, whose white linen was
his wife's pride, " that this will be a matter for
the 'sizes, — that means lawyers with wigs on
and gowns, and money in their pockets, which,
say I, we shall pay."
" It means nothing but that," said many
others around him.
Tappit, the striker of anvils, struck out the
same idea in the Pudding Bag.
" This means sending round the hat," said,
in another place, the little wizened man, who
had once been, addressed by Paul as Zacchseus.
And at Jeavons' shop a crowd collected, made
up of people desirous of contributing whatever
they could to the expenses of procuring the
best lawyer that might be had for love or
money, or both, to defend Paul.
This caused uncommon happiness to Jeavons,
who had been the means of so training these
applicants in saving their money, that they had
money to give away.
While Jeavons was counting up by himself
the amount of promised subscriptions, there
came into his shop a man whom he had often
seen looking in at his window, but had never
" Good morning, sir," said the visitor, whose
manner betokened unbounded confidence in
the provision dealer. " I should be glad
to know on what principles you carry on
this business of yours. I am told that you
make a profit for the people who buy your
goods. Is that so ?"
" That is so."
" Do not think me rude if I ask you, how
much have you paid in profits to your customers
in a year ? "
" I expect to pay," replied Jeavons, "at the
end of the year, more than thirty shillings to
five hundred people."
" May I take a seat ? " said the visitor with
open eyes. " This interests me much, and
many friends of mine."
"By all means," said Jeavons, "but my
time is very short. I am in great trouble on
account of a friend of mine."
" Anything- to do with law ? " asked the other
" With nothing else," replied Jeavons.
" Does it arise out of the shop ? "
" No ; but it is connected with the founder
of the shop, who will be tried at the coming
assizes for a crime which he never committed."
" How do you know that ? "
"Just as well as I know I didn't do it
myself," replied Jeavons becoming excited ;
" and look here at this list of the working
people who have subscribed for his defence.
It was he who started in them my ideas."
" Very interesting," said the other, whose
attention was now diverted from the shop to
the subject of Jeavons' excitement. Jeavons,
encouraged by the other's interest, gave him,
as briefly as he could, Paul's story. When it
was finished, his visitor, after a short silence,
said, " Got a counsel ? "
1 66 MASSTON.
" Not yet."
" I can find you one."
" Do you know him well ? "
" Known him from a boy ; and a better
man or a better lawyer I don't know. He's
young — so much the better for you — he'll
go heart and soul into the work. There's
his address, make your attorney write to him
at once. And now," he went on, " you
would probably like to know something about
" You evidently know," replied Jeavons,
" something about me and my shop. I did not
know that my scheme had aroused attention
in any one outside of Masston. I am not sur-
prised, but I should be glad to learn that
others were taking it up."
" The young barrister I was talking of,"
said the other, " has bothered me about some-
thing of the same kind, till I lost patience.
Now I see how it works, I have more confi-
dence in him than ever."
" Does he think of the working people ? "
" I can't get him to think of anything else,"
replied the other.
" Then," said Jeavons, " he should be the
man to defend Paul Blanchard."
" Glad you think so. My name is Birtles.
When I picked up this youngster I was well
off. He had run away from this town of
" How long ago might that be ? " asked
" A matter of fifteen years or more."
"Why, I ran away from Masston myself!"
" Where did you go to ? "
" I didn't leave the town."
Birtles, passing unnoticed for a moment the
strangeness of this answer, said, " I have never
known why that boy ran away. When I
picked him up he was in great distress ; but
he had evidently been well cared for. To cut
a long story short, his appearance struck me,
and I said to him — I was driving my trap
and saw him toiling footsore alon^ the road —
' Where are you going ? ' "
" ' I am going to get my own living,' said
he, and somehow the little chap looked as if
he meant it. I could have laughed, but he
was so proud and so serious that I could only
say 'Jump up and let me take you as far as
you're going.' Well, I found the little beggar
was going nowhere, and I resolved pretty
soon to help him somewhere. You know, Mrs.
Birtles has never had any children, and I was
quite sure she'd take as kindly to this little
fellow as I did. Wonderful woman, Mrs.
Birtles ! She'd often chivied me for taking too
much to people that I did'nt know, but as for
this boy, she took to him even more than I
" Then you adopted him ? " said Jeavons.
" I'm quite sure," said Birtles with a hesi-
tancy foreign to his character, "that you will
come to know him, he will make you know
him ; and you can then ask him for the rest of
his story. All I need tell you is that he's a
very clever fellow, and his name is Hugh
" Hugh Arden ? " said Jeavons musingly,
" that's not a Masston name."
" No," replied Birtles, " I suppose not."
" Do you know anything more about him ? "
" All I know would take too long to tell just
now. My wife insisted at first on my taking
the boy back to his home, but when I made
this known to him one morning at breakfast-
time, he got up from the table just as if he
had been an old one, went quietly out of the
room, and left the house without anybody
knowing it. When I found he was gone, I
went after him, and I caught my young gentle-
man just making his way to one of the ships
alongside the quay." Here Birtles gave a
good-humoured chuckle. " I believe," said he,
" that boy only consented to come back be-
I 70 MASSTON.
cause he saw I'd come after him without a
hat. Fancy one of the three B.s — Bright,
Birtles, and Brush, you know — going hatless
through Bri stol ! The end of it was we jumped
into a hackney and went back to breakfast.
After that for fear of losing him, we never
asked him any more questions."
" This was very kind of you," said Jeavons.
" I have had my reward," replied the other.
"You say he is a barrister?" went on Jeavons.
" Yes," said Birtles, " he is, and doing well,
though he's young at it. The worst of it is,
now I come to think of it, that you can't get
my man to defend your friend without great
"In what way ?" asked Jeavons.
Birtles, without appearing to hear the ques-
tion, said, in his sudden way, " I'll see you to-
night ; will you be here to-night ? "
"If you like. I shall be very glad to see
you here again," said Jeavons with a slight
tone of disappointment.
MASSTON. I f I
" Very well, my friend, come and dine with
me at the Green Dragon. I have an idea
which I will explain. I am delighted. We
shall do something. I have never asked a
favour of any man yet, but the favour I am
going to ask will not be refused. Good-bye
now — come at six — do me the favour — I shall
have something to tell you." Birtles then left
Jeavons standing in his shop and straightway
directed his steps to the Oxford Works.
Birtles was a man who could only hold one
idea at a time, but that one he held fast.
Pursuing the notion which now possessed him,
he entered the great works and asked, with a
determined air, for Mr. Warner.
" What name, sir ? " said the clerk in attend-
"Tell him I must see him," answered Birtles.
" Mr. Warner will not see you, sir, unless
you give him your name," said the clerk.
" He will — he will be o-lad to see me. Tell
him I say so."
I 7 2 MASSTON.
The clerk disappeared, moved by Birtles'
earnestness to an errand he had never before
undertaken. Mr. Warner also must have been
impressed by the clerk's message, for he con-
descended to appear in the doorway of his
"Morning, sir; morning, Mr. Warner," cried
Birtles in a glad assuring voice, raising his
hat and advancing towards the master of the
So cheerful and straightforward was Birtles
that Warner had no time for presentiment or
self-accusations, and the two merchants found
themselves together m Warner's room on a
footing of undoubted friendliness.
" I have come to ask a favour, Mr. Warner,"
Birtles began. " Glad to see that things are
flourishing with you, sir ; the three B.s are not
flourishing, but that's their own fault."
Warner, who had been listening with some
interest, bowed interrogatively and exchanged
a troubled look for a smile of sympathy.
MASSTON. I J $
"Yes, their own fault," went on Birtles. " That
Australian speculation was disastrous, we were
tripped up, sir; we were too sharp ; we thought
we knew everything, and there was somebody
knew better than we did, and forestalled the
market. Ah ! you were too wise, Mr. Warner,
to put all your eggs in one basket. But I
didn't come to talk about that."
Warner could do no less than offer, in his
most plausible manner, to give every help he
could in any way to one to whom he owed
" That's handsome," said Birtles.
To this proposition Warner bowed a grati-
fied assent which, with all his cunning, he
could not persuade himself to feel.
" I must beg your pardon," said Birtles, "for
running away, when I called to see you some
time ago. But the fact is, that you looked so
good and kind I was really afraid you'd make
some tempting business offer that I couldn't
resist. So, sir, I ran away from you. The
1 74 MASSTON.
truth is, since that Australian business, we've
had hard work to make our way up again."
" It would have been an honour to me," said
Warner, rinding a somewhat faltering voice,
which to Birtles seemed charged with good
feeling, "to have given you any accommoda-
"Ah ! that's just what I told my wife. I
knew you'd be ready to do that. I told her
so. But she made me promise not to run into
any risk we couldn't discharge at once ; and,
thank God ! that woman has brought the
three B.s straight again."
Warner, with a shade of anxiety still in his
voice, said —
" Your visit, if I understand you aright, is
not on business ? "
" Not at all. No, I came to ask a favour for
a man I've never seen ; and it's not quite that
either. There's a man you've employed named
Warner could not help starting. The sudden
conjunction of these two men, Birtles and
Blanchard, both of whom he had unscrupulously
used as his instruments, produced on him an
equally sudden shock.
" My chief designer was named Blanchard,"
said Warner, quickly recovering himself.
" Do you think him guilty ? "
" I would give much to prove him inno-
" I can do it — with your help," rejoined
" How can I help you ? what have you
heard ? " cried Warner eagerly.
"That's just it," said Birtles. "I've heard
that none of the workpeople believe him guilty,
no more do you. Now then, I know a young
lawyer, adopted son of my own in fact, mad
about working-men, he's the man to defend
Blanchard. But he's on another circuit ; you
know what that means. Now you've offered
me accommodation, give it me in this way.
Save these working men's shillings that they're
1 J 6 MASSTON.
subscribing, and help me to retain this young
man for Blanchard's defence."
" Would it serve you ? " asked Warner cheer-
"It would help me. I know something of
workmen, and know what your workmen will
think of you when they learn, as they shall, who
pays the shot." And perhaps for the first time
since his last appearance in that room Birtles
indulged in a hearty wink.
" This seems almost providential," said War-
ner, with great deliberation. " I had thought
how I could help my poor friend Blanchard —
and saw no way. Under the circumstances,
my name could not appear in a subscription list
for his defence, and he is too proud to accept
any private assistance directly from me. You
have saved me from a great embarrassment.
Your intervention," said he, with a sudden
shake of Birtles' hand, " anticipates all my
difficulties. I will write you a cheque at once."
" No, no," exclaimed Birtles, as he took the
cheque, " this is too much." And in his sudden
manner, which Warner well remembered, he
tore up the cheque and said, dropping into a
chair, " We can't want more, first and last, than
three hundred pounds."
Warner wrote a new cheque, and thus it
happened that the expense of Paul Blanchard's
defence by Hugh Arden was provided by the
master of the Oxford Works.
vol. 11. m
( -78 )
" What light the study of the inferior animals is capable of throwing
upon the higher qualities of man ! " — Darwin.
Warner came home after his interview with
Birtles in a mood which was almost jubilant.
As he got out of his carriage he met Edith,
who was going out to cut flowers in the garden.
" You are early," she said.
"As I intended to be. Is any one coming
to dinner ? "
" I did invite Lord Francis, but he has left
" Yes," said Warner abstractedly. " Did
you ask any one else ? "
" I asked Mr. Sweetapple and his mother."
"Then I am the more glad that I returned
Warner, bent on pleasing his wife in a
MASSTON. 1 79
matter which gave him little trouble, said,
taking her flower-basket and orivino- her his
arm, an attention which was almost strange to
her, " Let us find the best flowers we can.
You have never used your Venetian glasses,"
he said, as they walked down a path loaded
with foliage to the rose-beds.
" Mr. Sweetapple," replied Edith, " whom
you know has a fine taste, admired them
much when he saw them the other day."
" When they are filled with yellow and red
roses," said Warner, " he will like them yet
And leaving Edith on an elaborate bench,
he disported himself in a vigorous slaughter
of the roses. Edith, as she watched him, saw
an exuberance of power in his attitude, that
fitted the belief in him in which she had lately
been somewhat shaken.
" I think," said Warner, bringing the roses
to her, " that now all you want upon the table
is a pair of Julia's birds."
I So MASSTON.
" Do not snap the scissors in that barbarous
way," said Edith. " But listen to me. Let
Mr. Sweetapple sit next to Julia, and leave
them alone as much as you can. I will amuse
" Then I shall go to sleep," said Warner in
a tone of protest. And though Edith did not
heed it, he meant what he said.
" Don't you like Mrs. Sweetapple ? " asked
Edith with wide eyes.
" I should like her better if she were not so
Frenchified," said Warner.
" I think it's just for that I do like her,"
replied Edith, in a tone that invited a pleasant
" Does she remind you of Lord Francis ? "
asked Warner with some tartness.
" Quite different. Lord Francis is a man of
pleasure and fashion. Mrs. Sweetapple is very
natural, and I think quite good. She is so
fond of her son ; and, you see, has an evident
regard for his holy mission."
"No doubt she is a very delightful woman,"
said Warner. " What do you mean to do about
her son and Julia ? "
" I have thought much of that," said Edith,
" and I think we should act for Julia's good.
I shall not press her, but shall try to guide
" I remember what you said some time ago,"
answered Warner solemnly. " You will do
Upon this they returned to the house.
Warner thought he had never seen Julia look
so beautiful as she was when she came down
to the drawingf-room.
" Mr. Sweetapple is to be here to-night," said
Warner, "with his mother. She is a nice old
" Very !" said Julia. " I like her very much.
I would like her for a mother."
" Then you like her son ? "
" No ; that is exactly what I do not like."
" This is very unreasonable."
1 82 MASSTON.
" No ; I like Mrs. Sweetapple just as I like
Dodo my parrot ; she is so amusing."
" Do you like people as they resemble your
birds ? "
" Yes ; do you know I think I do."
" Am I one of your birds ? " asked Warner,
with a confiding air.
" Oh ! you gave me the cage."
Warner at another time might have taken
offence at this light speech ; but the face of the
whole world had changed to him in a day, and
he felt such confidence in his lucky star, that he
was ready to think everything designed for his
" Can't you let me be a bird ? " he asked.
"Where will you place me ?"
" What would you like to be ? "
While Warner, unused to light talk, was
searching for an answer, the Sweetapples were
announced, and Warner became occupied in
speculating which of Julia's birds most resem-
bled the youthful parson. As he shook hands
with Mrs. Sweetapple, who came into the room
with an air of freshness scarcely less than Julia's,
he would have given much to point out to Julia
the resemblance between Mrs. Sweetapple and
the Javanese sparrow.
" Do you know, dear," said Mrs. Sweetapple
to Julia, " I cannot figure it in my head how
your birds have taken possession of me ?"
" Take care, mother," said Mr. Sweetapple,
indulging himself in a joke which he thought a
little daring; " possession is a serious thing."
" I cannot help it. My dear Miss Ascham's
parrot may be a diable. I hope he is not, for I
hear him talking constantly."
Edith at this moment came into the room,
and, making apology for her lateness, said,
" Has Julia's parrot become the little bird that
tells secrets ? "
" No," said Julia decidedly ; " the only secrets
he knows are those I tell him."
" Now those are the dear little secrets I would
best like to know," said Mrs. Sweetapple.
" I wonder if he was revealing a secret to
me the other day," said her son.
" He had better have kept it to himself,"
replied his mother. " But one cannot doubt
that he has bitten you too, Miss Ascham ;
and I am convinced he would bite me if
he could ; he is a malicious fellow, depend
upon it. Why do I think so much about
him ? I suppose it is because he is so like
a man, and all men bite if you let them. If
you can keep them in order, then they are
" Some men are given to biting," said
Warner, with a smile that showed his teeth.
" The men who do not bite," said Mrs.
Sweetapple, "are those whose mouths are con-
stantly stopped with bonbons. If I had now
to manage a man — I do not count my son, he
is very gentle — the first thing I would say to
him would be"
" Dinner is ready, if you please, sir," said the
butler, appearing just in time to fill up the
little woman's sentence. The party went in to
dinner with every appearance of good-humour,
Edith, who by Lord Francis' absence was left
to go in alone, seeming to follow Sweetapple
and Julia like a guardian angel. Julia was the
first to notice her sister's arrangement of the
" Yes," said Mrs. Sweetapple. " Now I
should like to ask Mrs. Warner if she did not
think more of herself than the flowers, when she
was arranging them. I remember at Baden-
Baden a little flower-girl, who was so bright
and joyous over her bouquets, one could not
help thinking she had made the flowers."
" Do you know, Mrs Sweetapple," said Edith,
" I did feel very proud for these flowers ? and
I shall certainly ask Mr. Gadso if there is not
some danger in giving way to tastes and feel-
ings of this kind."
" I can tell you better than Gadso that there
is great danger if you don't take care," said
Mrs. Sweetapple. " I know some of those
1 86 MASSTON.
insolent fellows at the Louvre — who stand
there like watch- dogs — have got, by seeing
always the pictures, to think that they arc
artists, while they are really so many dusters
to keep the dirt away."
Julia, with much mirth, answered that she
was no better herself, " For I have never met
Mrs. Sweetapple," she said, " without feeling
myself a great deal better than I know I am."
" This is a pack of nonsense, my dear," cried
Mrs. Sweetapple ; " there is no danger in that
— let us bring the dear flowers to our tables,
wear them in our hair, or stick them in our
buttonholes, for their own sakes, and not for
ours, and we shall never go wrong."
" Do you not think, Miss Ascham," said
Sweetapple, bending in a lily-like way towards
Julia, " that there is something significant of
character in the love of flowers ? "
" No," said she ; " I can't understand any one
being without it."
" I think," said Edith, " I have the key to all
this. If the old Earth could speak, would it
not say, ' This is my Master's livery '—we too
can wear it in His service — that is what Mr.
Sweetapple means, I think."
" Ah, bah ! you got that from Gadso. I
believe le bon Dieu gave us these pretty things
just to please us, and nothing else."
" My mother," said Mr. Sweetapple to Julia,
"only thinks of what she says two days after
she has said it, and this delightful talk will be
a pleasure to her for more than a week to
come. It will last me a much longer time."
" I have forgotten it already," said Julia.
" And yet," said Warner in his gentlest
voice, " I still hear you talking of your great
" That is a thing to last for ever," she
Mr. Sweetapple looked perturbed, as he had
prepared other little speeches on the same sub-
ject which Julia's remark destroyed.
Here Edith rose, took a flower from one of
I SS MASSTON.
the pretty glasses, gave it to her husband as
she was leaving the room, and said, " Wear
this for me."
Mr. Sweetapple looked as if he would have
liked to have received a similar commission,
but Julia walked out of the room with Mrs.
Sweetapple on her arm, leaving not even a
look behind her. She was made perfectly
happy for the rest of the evening by seeing
what she conceived to be a little love passage
between Edith and her husband.
Warner, in talking to Mr. Sweetapple, found
himself compelled into a worse bargain than
he was accustomed to make. Upon the capital
of words and wine which he expended, he
got but a poor return. Mr. Sweetapple was
depressed, and Warner's thoughts took a
flight to another region than that of the young
curate's love. He was listening to the favour
begged by Birtles, he was watching the flight
of Lord Francis from Masston, he was sorrow-
ing for Paul Blanchard, and, finally, felt proud
MASSTON. 1 89
that he could do justice, whilst he loved
" Shall we go into the other room now ? " he
said to Mr. Sweetapple, who was only too
willing- to act on the suo-oestion.
As they were passing from one room to
another, there came a loud and sudden knock-
ing at the Hall door, so loud that it startled
the whole house, and so sudden that Warner
halted to hear what it might mean.
Mr. Sweetapple had now joined the ladies,
the Hall door opened, and Warner caught a
voice he knew too well. In answer to the
inquiry if Mr. Warner was at home, Warner
went forward and presented himself.
" How do you do ? pray come in," said the
master of the Oxford Works to his heaviest
This was the distinguished Friend, who had
given his co-operation to Edith in securing
the union of the religious sects, and his capital
to Warner to invest in commerce.
1 90 MASSTON.
Lord Francis Elbston, before returning to
Paris, had gone direct to the distinguished
Quaker, who lived in one of the magnificent
palaces erected on the Elbston estate, to obtain
such information as he was able, regarding the
value of the land, and the amount of rent and
such other items of knowledge as might prove
of value. He knew that what the Quaker
would tell him would be true, he could
approach a Quaker more easily than any-
other person equally strange to him ; and
Lord Francis further judged that Warner
having but little private intercourse with
Quakers, his visit would remain unnoticed.
This was the only mistake Lord Francis made.
The Quaker promptly determined upon seeing
Friend Warner after his interview with the aris-
tocratic profligate. It was necessary to have
a clear understanding on a matter which was
too much surrounded by clouds. He had the
Greatest confidence in Warner ; but certain
questions put by Lord Francis seemed so
MASSTON. 1 9 I
strange to him, that he felt it was only his
duty to satisfy the suspicions which he could
" There is nothing in all this," said Warner,
after hearing the Friend. " Would you like to
take your money out of the Elbston estate ? "
" Not if thou givest me thy word that it is
" I will give you either my word or the
money," replied Warner, " whichever you
" Then there is nothing to fear from this
relative of the man called Lord Limethorpe ? "
asked the Friend.
" There is no fear," said Warner, placing
his hand on his breast, and calmly waiting for
whatever surprise might yet be in store for
" I am satisfied," said the Quaker, " but I
will see thee to-morrow. Good-ni^ht, friend."
"Will you not come in ? "
" I have already told thee no." The Quaker
went on his way, leaving with Warner a
crowd of anxieties, fears, and suspicions such
as had never assailed him before. He became
now fully and unmistakably aware that Lord
Francis had, as he suspected, returned to
Masston to claim a sum of money which was
owed to him and could not possibly be paid
by the debtor. Warner had, in fact, so used
this money that none of it could be called in :
and his generous offer to the Friend was made
in the confident hope that it would not be
accepted. The Master of the Oxford Works
had trusted overmuch to two probabilities — the
one that Lord Francis would not dare to re-
turn to Masston, the other that in his idle Paris
life no report of Warner's actual proceedings
could reach him, and that as long as his pro-
fligateship received enough money to procure
his daily pleasures he would be content to
remain his agent's pensioner. But Warner's
fame was not now confined to Masston or the
English seaports. Lord Francis had heard
from a travelling acquaintance such dazzling,
and indeed such exaggerated, accounts of the
great merchant's wealth, that he at once sus-
pected he was being cheated, as indeed he was.
Warner had not only kept in his own posses-
sion the results of a successful speculation upon
which he entered as agent ; he had, moreover,
used them for further speculations of his own.
Indeed the greater part of the profits on the
Elbston estate was sunk in the Oxford Works.
And now Lord Francis had come to claim his
own. What he had seen for himself, and what
he had learnt from the Quaker, proved to him
that he could at any moment descend upon
Masston, and take to himself the great wealth
which Warner had drawn from it. With the
dread of this moment possessing him, Warner
went back into the drawing-room to find his
innocent frends en^a^ed in dethroning em-
pires more vast than his, by burying their
cities in couplets from the poets.
They were all laughing at their own difficul-
VOL. II. N
ties in discovering a well-known town in the
lines given by Julia.
" What are you all laughing at ? " asked
Warner in great need himself of mirth.
And Mrs. Sweetapple, in most tragic tones,
" ' My May of life,
Is fallen into the sere and yellow leaf.'
Can you find a town in that ? "
Warner could make nothing out of the
question, but the lines struck him with a sin-
gular force. Mrs. Sweetapple, perceiving his
perplexity, exclaimed, " I see you do not know
" I fear I cannot learn it now," said Warner ;
" is it not time for prayers ?"
( '95 )
" Duke. Give me your hand. Came you from old Bellario ?
Por. I did, my lord.
Duke. You are welcome : take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court ?
Por. I am informed throughly of the cause."
— Merchant of Venice, iv. i.
At nine o'clock on one of those August morn-
ings, which appeared to cling with a loving
embrace to Baston Hall and its fair gardens,
the blast of a trumpet was heard in the market-
place of Masston outside the Court-house. The
windows of the little old houses hard by were
shaken by it, and many hearts were made to
It might be idle to inquire why the blast of
brass has always been thought symbolical of jus-
tice; but there is no doubt that to some natures
justice is the same thing as terror, and of such
natures there were many in Masston. On this
August morning, the only people utterly
superior to the fear of the law were the little
children who gambolled round the terrible
trumpeter, and laughed with bewildered
delight at the appearance of the young men,
with grey hair and black petticoats, who stood
in groups about the door of the Court. One
little wretch, hardened in crime, pointing out
the yellow trousers of one of the seniors of the
bar, distilled wonderment among the rest of
his tribe, and for the moment put an end to
their frolics. In the centre of the market-place
was a large crowd of dwarfed men with anxious
faces, dressed in their Sunday clothes, who
waited eagerly to observe the aspect of the
Judge who was to try their friend. Presently,
amid all the pomp which in those days belonged
to a judge, the Sheriffs carriage rolled up, and
from it descended a tall old man robed in
scarlet, whose face was as inscrutable as the
MASSTON. I 9 7
pale sky which hung above them all. He
passed in, and a pushing crowd followed him.
The bench was filled with well-known Mass-
ton faces. Mr. and Mrs. Warner, Mr. and
Mrs. Gadso, Dr. Cumberladge, and many
others were there. Julia had stayed at home,
saying that she did not want to hear proved
what she already knew, that Paul was innocent.
Sarah also for this, and other reasons, had
stayed away ; but the knowledge of her belief
in him was better to the accused man than
her presence could have been. Benjamin
Jeavons stood near the dock, and Birtles found
a place among the counsel. Lord Limethorpe,
looking very old, sat on the right of the bench.
The grand jury had been sworn by the judge's
marshal, had found two or three true bills,
among them one against Paul Blanchard,
and the moment for his appearance had come.
He was brought into the dock, where he
stood fresh and upright as if he stood by a
river's side, rather than at a bar of justice.
Edith found herself regarding him with
marked attention. Dr. Cumberladge smiled
at him meaningly. Warner's eyes were fixed,
with an attention that had never wavered since
he first came in, on the prisoner's counsel, who
at that moment leant across the table for a pen,
and by the action attracted also the eyes of Dr.
Cumberladge, who started like a man waking
from a dream. The prisoner, in a gentle voice,
delivered his plea of Not Guilty ; the usual
forms were gone through, and the trial began.
Serjeant Lawlud, with whom were Messrs.
Papcook and Pawkins, proceeded to inform his
lordship and the gentlemen of the jury that
this was a very simple case, as no doubt it
was. What Serjeant Lawlud also said, but
should not, because it had no connection with
the issue to be tried, related to the growth
of an evil spirit among the labouring classes,
which manifested itself in acts of insubordina-
tion and other acts, which clearly indicated a
determination to brave all the laws of society
in asserting their supposed rights, or righting
their supposed wrongs. The prisoner at the
bar, continued the learned Serjeant, bore, it
appears, an excellent character up to the day
when, as it will be shown, he committed the
crime for which he was now to be tried. He
occupied an important position in the great
works where he was employed, and received a
very large and handsome salary. It, however,
will be shown to you, gentlemen of the jury,
that the prisoner was connected with a new
trading concern, which had grown so rapidly
that, in order still to increase its growth, or to
provide for pressing needs which overtook him
and his friends in connection with it, he was
tempted into the crime which was so speedily
brought home to him. It will also be shown
you that the prisoner was on the eve of marry-
ing into a family far above him in station, and
over and above these motives for helping him-
self to other people's property, he was trusted
by his master most implicitly, and had at the
same time every opportunity of going into all
the rooms of the works at all hours whenever
it suited him ; he had, in short, unbounded
liberty to do as he pleased ; and his master
placed in him that unbounded confidence with-
out which the prisoner could not have hoped
to carry out his evil design.
These were some of the things which the
learned Serjeant should not have said. But
the case was so simple, the audience of such a
superior order, and the Serjeant himself in such
capital spirits, that it was only natural for him
to give as much importance to the trial as he
could. Serjeant Lawlud reserved his descrip-
tion of the prayer-meeting at the Oxford
Works, when the prisoner committed his atro-
cious offence, for the close of his address. It
was sad, said the orator, to think that it was at
the solemn moment when all were bowed in the
holy service of prayer that the prisoner had
committed the unhappy deed for which he was
now to be tried, and if the jury, bringing their
MASSTON. 20 1
undoubted intelligence to bear upon the facts
presented to them, could possibly find any other
explanation than that that crime was committed
by the prisoner he should be no less relieved
" Mr. Robert Warner."
It was as good as a play to be in Court that
morning, as indeed it almost always is, though
more especially, when on a day like this,
counsel were encouraged by the presence in
Court of many handsome men and fair women.
At the close of the learned Serjeant's im-
pressive words, the learned Judge, with the
same inscrutable face as when he descended
from his carriage, was occupied in writing a
note. The galleries of the Court, filled with the
working people of Masston, all friends of Paul,
were in what they themselves called an in-
fernal stew. The severe aspect of the Judge
and the eloquence of the Serjeant took them
captive. Not an eye turned to meet the look
which Blanchard cast at them ; they could only
look at the awful Judge who was writing a
playful note to his daughter, while they thought
he was taking down the accusing words of the
The prisoner's counsel, who appeared to be
occupied in admiring a metallic pen, which, till
then he had never seen, and was, in reality,
debating with himself the style and manner of
Serjeant Lawlud, was an object of intense and
increasing interest to some of the occupiers of
the bench. Warner was occupied with himself.
Birtles was occupied with scrutinizing now the
face of Paul and now the steady calmness of
him who was to defend him. Birtles was
anxious but did not fidget. Lord Limethorpe
was the only person in the whole Court who
seemed to have nothing to do, a demeanour
which some of the younger men in horse-hair
could well have imitated, but dared not ; it was
better to read a newspaper than do nothing.
Mr. Warner gave his evidence in good form,
and his expressions of sorrow for the prisoner
appeared to be genuine. The Serjeant con-
cluded a long examination, which in part cor-
roborated his opening speech ; and then sat
down. The witness remained for a moment in
the box, appearing to invite cross-examination ;
he was about to leave it, and had already
turned his back on the counsel, when Mr.
Hugh Arden (with whom was Mr. Blackston
Goodlad) rose, and raised his finger as if to
ask a trifling question.
" Mr. Warner ! " he said, on which Warner
turned suddenly round as if he had heard his
own voice, " did you see the prisoner in your
room on the morning when this prayer-meeting
was held ? "
" I did not."
" If he had been there you must have seen
him ? "
" I think so."
" Now, did you at all see Lord Limethorpe's
pocket-book during the meeting ? "
" I did not."
" You were, I believe, much astonished when
Lord Limethorpe returned to your room in
search of his missing property."
" I was greatly astonished."
" You said, I think, that the meeting broke
up in a little haste, owing to some slight
accident ? "
" I have said so — for so it was."
" And there was, perhaps, a little hurry or
confusion ? "
" No doubt that was the case."
" Can you tell us, Mr. Warner, if your clerk,
Reklaw, was present at the prayer-meeting ? "
" He certainly was."
"Very well," said Mr. Hugh Arden in a
tone of voice which seemed to imply that it
was very ill for some one.
He resumed his seat with a thoughtful air ;
the witness once more prepared to go away,
" One moment," called out the youthful
barrister, as he again rose. " I might as well
ask you — you were not present when the
pocket-book was found ? "
" I was not."
" Very well."
The manner of the cross-examination won
the attention of some members of the bar ; even
the Judge was observed very slightly to incline
his head on one side to his " brother Lawlud "
as the prisoner's counsel sat down.
The last question, the voice, raised to its
best quality in the words "one moment/' sent
a thrill of wonder and amazement through
Edith Warner. It was the voice of her be-
loved, the sound of mastery, the pitch of com-
mand, the tone of love. To her, the filthy,
dust-defiled Court became as if by magic
changed into a temple, beneath whose roof her
youth, with its high hope and purpose, its
happiness and joy, was restored to her. She
looked at the young face of the speaker, sur-
rounded as it was with the mere trappings and
mask of age, and fancied that heaven had once
given her such a face to worship and to love.
She watched every movement of his hands
with as keen a delight as her ear received the
sounds of his voice which grew in volume,
depth, and sweetness.
Then Lord Limethorpe gave his testimony,
and Edith's pleasure was increased by the
simple gesture with which the youthful counsel
signified that he would not cross-examine his
The case was complete. Two of Mr.
Warner's clerks testified to finding Lord Lime-
thorpe's pocket-book in the pocket of the
prisoner's coat, exactly as Serjeant Lawlud had
stated, and the learned Serjeant declared, on the
close of this testimony, that that was his case in
a solemn tone which shewed how much it pained
him to have been so successful in proving it.
" May it please your lordship and gentle-
men of the jury," began Mr. Hugh Arden,
and again Edith Warner felt the deep, tender,
but firm voice of the speaker search every
thought of her heart and pierce it. She trem-
bled, she grew faint, and rose to leave the
Court. Dr. Cumberladge, but barely able to
control his own feelings, saw the lady's embar-
rassment, and gave her his hand to help her.
But for this firm and timely support she must
have fallen back into her seat. She reached
the judge's room with profound thanks to Dr.
Cumberladge, who assured her that change of
air was all she needed.
The Doctor returned into Court, where he
found Mr. Warner with his eyes fastened on
the speaker who was then absorbing every
Warner appeared to be quite unconscious
of what had happened to his wife.
Tearing away from the statement of the
learned counsel for the prosecution every
thread of extraneous matter, Mr. Arden de-
clared that there was not a tittle of evidence
against the prisoner, and complained in modest,
but firm tones, of the absence of one witness
whom the prosecution ought to have called
but had not. " Gentlemen, Mr. Warner has
sworn that he did not see the prisoner in the
room from which Lord Limethorpe's pocket-
book is alleged to have been stolen ; and all
that the learned Serjeant has produced by way
of proof that the prisoner was there, is the
word of one of Mr. Warner's clerks to
Mr. Warner. That, gentlemen, is not evi-
dence, as his lordship will inform you. The
name of that clerk is James Reklaw. Why
has not James Reklaw been produced ?"
At this moment, while the young barrister
paused with an impressive look at the jury, a
note was thrown to him across the table, by
one of his brother advocates. He opened it,
and read it hastily. It contained these words :
" Ruckles is here." He again addressed
the Court. " I find," he said, " that I need
not trouble you with any set speech. I will
proceed at once to call — Robert Ruckles."
At these words, as if he had sprung up through
the floor of the Court, a light-haired youth,
with small grey eyes, and heavy shoulders,
appeared in the witness-box.
" Your name is Robert Ruckles, and you
are employed at the Oxford Works?" inquired
" I was turned off," answered the youth
sulkily ; " my mother is still there."
" Oh ! your mother is still there. When
were you turned off ? "
" The day after the row between the master
and Mr. Blanchard."
" At the time of that ' row/ however, you
were employed at the Oxford Works ? "
" O' course I were. I was a sort o' servant
to Mr. Blanchard."
" A sort of servant ? What does that
mean ? "
" Well, I used to fetch and carry things for
"Did you fetch or carry anything on that
vol. 11. o
" No ; Mr. Blanchard kept me all the morn-
ing- a learning of me to draw."
" Then you were in his room all the morn-
" I never left it."
" Did Mr. Blanchard leave the room ? "
" I remember as how he said he was aofoinof
to speak to my mother about me. And in
course he went out then."
" About what time was this ? "
"Just upon dinner-time, that's twelve o'clock."
" Then between ten and twelve o'clock you
are sure Mr. Blanchard never left his room ? "
" Yes, I'm quite sure."
" What makes you so sure ? "
" Cause he was atorking to me about my
mother and my sister, and about my learning
to drawer, and being what he called a better
man ; he was atorking to me all the time and
making lines for me to do after him."
" Anything else ? "
" Yes, there were sommut else."
MASSTON. 2 I I
" What was it ? "
"He a'most made me cry."
" You recollect that ?"
" Yes, I reckerlect well enough."
" When did the 'row,' as you call it, begin ? "
" Just about then."
" Was there any one besides yourself in Mr.
Blanchard's room when he was away ? "
" Mr. Reklaw came in to look for Mr. Blan-
" Did he speak to you ? "
" No, he didn't see me."
" Oh, he did not see you. Did he do any-
thing ? "
"Yes, he just did something."
" What was it ? "
" He went to Mr. Blanchard's coat and he
put a book in the pocket ! "
The manner in which the witness delivered
these simple words produced what the news-
papers called a profound sensation in Court.
Serjeant Lawlud was seen to be in eager con-
2 I 2 MASSTON.
sultation with the prosecuting attorney. The
prosecuting attorney pushed his way through
a thicket of elbows to where Mr. Warner was
sitting on the bench, and held an eager
consultation with him. Mr. Arden, with
singular tact and patience, appeared to be con-
sulting his brief — he was in reality allowing
the witness's words to have their full weight
with the Court.
" Go on," said the Judge in an approving
tone of voice.
" Now is that (motioning to the officer of
the Court to show it) anything like the book
you saw Reklaw put into Mr. Blanchard's
pocket ? "
" Why/' said the witness with a stare, " it's
the very same identical book."
" How do you know that, my man ? " asked
" Why, I never afore saw one like it."
" What did Reklaw do when he had placed
that book in Mr. Blanchard's coat pocket ? "
MASSTON. 2 I 3
" I saw him look round, and walk out on
" Very well. Did anything else happen ? "
"Yes; Mr. Arklus and Mr. Simpson came
in, and they opened the drawers, and they put
their hands in my pockets, and then they put
their hands in Mr. Blanchard's coat pocket,
and they found that book."
" Well now, tell the Court why you did not
tell Arklus and Simpson that you had seen
Reklaw put the book into Mr. Blanchard's coat
" Well, gentlemen, I know as how Reklaw
had a spite agin Mr. Blanchard, and I wanted
to lay hold of him, and to make Mr. Blanchard
like me for sticking: to him when I'd tell him
" What followed ? "
" I goes up to Reklaw, who was astanding
behind the gaffer, and says, says I, whispering
in his ear, ' You put that book into Mr. Blan-
chard's coat pocket, because as how I sor ye.' "
2 1 4 MASSTON.
" What did Reklaw do then ? "
" He slipped a couter into my hand, and
said he'd give me five more to keep my
" A what ? " inquired the Judge, severely.
" A couter, my lord ; which is slang for a
sovereign," replied Mr. Arden.
On which the Judge looked long and
solemnly at the witness ; and the witness
looked very much like a dog expecting
to be pelted with stones, and unable to
On this Mr. Arden sat down, and left the
scamp Ruckles to the tender mercies of Mr.
" This is a pretty cock-and-bull story you
have told us," began the Serjeant, who was
almost as much puzzled how to deal with the
witness as the witness was ashamed of his own
confession. " A very pretty cock-and-bull
story/' continued the learned Serjeant, looking
now at the jury and now at the Judge.
MASSTON. 2 I 5
" Did Mr. Reklaw give you the promised
five pounds ? "
" Yes, he did."
" Did you ever ask him for more ? "
" I asked him for more, and he gave me
what I asked."
" How much did they give you for coming
" How much do you expect to get ? "
In brief, be it said, the learned Serjeant was
unable to shake, by his cross-examination, the
evidence which the scamp Ruckles had given.
How far the hasty and earnest consultation of
the attorney for the prosecution with the master
of the Oxford Works prevented master Ruckles
from being professionally turned inside out
may be left to the imagination of the reader,
who is already aware of the mission upon
which Mr. Reklaw had departed to Australia.
Ruckles could, if asked, have told the Court
2 1 6 MASSTON.
how, when he was ferreted out by the attorney
for the defence, he had been on the point of
sailing for Australia in company with Mr.
Reklaw, who was going there as the accredited
agent of Mr. Robert Warner; but he was not
asked. Warner now became aware for the
first time of Reklaw 's real object in leaving
the country, and perceived at once that on his
own connection with his departure might be
put a very dark construction. After Ruckles'
dismissal from the box, Mr. Arden proceeded
to call Dr. Cumberladge, Benjamin J eavons, and
others, as witnesses to character for Paul, and
the Serjeant declined any attempt at shaking
their testimony. The most remarkable thing
about Dr. Cumberladge's appearance in the
box was that Mr. Arden, who had looked full
at all the other witnesses, examined the doctor
from behind his brief. The Doctor explained,
in the course of his evidence, that Serjeant
Lawlud's statement as to Paul's approaching
marriage into a family of higher standing than
MASSTON. 2 I 7
his own was incorrect ; the woman to whom
he was betrothed occupied the position of
companion rather than servant in the Doctor's
family, and belonged to Paul's own class.
Jeavons testified that Paul had no connection
for profit or loss with the provision shop.
Then occurred the most tragic incident of
the trial, which was, however, known to only
two people in the Court. Dr. Cumberladge
walked straight out of the witness-box to where
Warner sat, and gave him a folded slip of
paper on which was written, " The counsel
for the prisoner is your own son."
Warner, who had been in a state of tension
all through the trial, felt, as he always did
when any undefined terror assumed a definite
shape, inspired with new determination. He
looked round for his wife, and did not see her.
Turning to Mr. Gadso he said, with perfect
calmness, " What has become of Edith ? "
" I have been so engrossed," replied that
excellent man, " by the proceedings that I only
2 I 8 MASSTON.
missed Mrs. Warner two minutes aeo. I am
informed that she was overcome by the heat,
and drove home." For this piece of news
Warner was not unthankful. He resumed his
attention to the case. Mr. Serjeant Lawlud
was making his speech, in which he dwelt on
the worthless character of the testimony given
by Ruckles, and informed the jury that if
they could in their consciences believe the
evidence of a ruffian who could be bought
body and soul for a few pounds, no one would
be more delighted than himself to see the
prisoner acquitted of the grave charge against
him. But he was there to discharge a duty,
and it was imperative upon him to warn them
against letting any personal feeling, or any
mistaken desire for mercy, interfere with the
discharge of theirs.
Scarcely had Brother Lawlud sat down,
when the Judge, with great peremptoriness and
unusual clearness of voice, said — " Gentlemen
of the jury. This is a case with the discussion
MASSTON. 2 I 9
of which I need trouble you very little. You
have heard what the learned Serjeant has
said as to the evidence of the lad Ruckles,
which if you believe it, will at once exonerate
the prisoner at the bar. I will ask you to con-
sider whether it is likely that Ruckles, for
purposes of his own, or from any desire to
serve the prisoner, should have invented or
learnt a circumstantial story involving a confes-
sion of his own wickedness in taking a price
for his silence as to this crime. That is for
you. You have heard the character given
to the prisoner by men of his own class,
and of a class above him, and to that you
will give its due weight, while you will re-
member that the evidence against the prisoner
is of a purely circumstantial kind. Gentlemen,
you will consider your verdict."
The Judge bowed to the jury, and the jury
turned round, put their heads together, and in
less than a minute showed their faces to the
Court again. Mr. Jackson, the clerk, glad to
2 20 MASSTON.
have an opportunity of stretching his lungs,
asked them, as if they were a mile off instead
of a yard, whether they had agreed upon a
verdict, and what it was ? and the foreman
answered, " That they found the prisoner Not
Guilty." " Then," said Mr. Jackson, dropping
a sheet of paper on to his desk, " he is not
" God bless your lordship for that ! " cried a
little woman from the gallery, while she
brought one hand down on the other as if she
were an auctioneer striking a bargain.
" Paul Blanchard," said the Judge, "you have
been tried by a jury of your fellow-men, who
have found you not guilty of the charge
brought against you. In their verdict I
entirely concur, and I will add to it that
you leave this Court with an unblemished
Mr. Arden rose from his seat, and applied
to the Judge for a bench-warrant for the ap-
prehension of James Reklaw. " The applica-
MASSTON. 2 i I
tion is unusual, but under the circumstances I
will grant it," said the Judge, who had been so
much pleased with Arden's bearing throughout
the case that he instructed his marshal to
invite him to luncheon.
When Warner returned to Baston he was
met by Edith and Julia, who in the same
breath asked him two different questions. He
answered Julia's by repeating the verdict. " I
told you so," said Julia joyfully. He was pass-
ing into the house when Edith stopped him.
" You did not hear my question," she said.
" Do you know the barrister who defended
" No," answered Warner in a harsh voice,
and shaking his wife off his arm, went into the
( 222 )
" How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, . . .
Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk."
— Merchant of Venice, iii. 2.
" Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to Heaven."
—Airs Well that Ends Well, i. I.
It was a cause of amazement to Warner to
find that he was becoming cold, and at times
even brutal, to his wife. He mourned over it in
secret — he hated himself on each occasion his
temper gave way — for he lost not only his self-
respect but his power. True, he did not love,
but the question forced itself upon him, why
was he so rude to one who was so gentle — so
cruel to her who had only done him the wrong
of marrying him. He could not tell. But in
truth he took no pains to find out, or, what is
equally likely, he dreaded even his own sober
answer to his own question. A liar — a thief —
a scoundrel, double-dyed — a wretch whose only
rest from torment lay in self-deception — and
whose character and fortunes were built on
the deception he practised on others, could no
more help being conscious of his own baseness
in the presence of a woman like her who was
his wife than the unconscious needle can help
pointing to the north except when a stronger
magnet governs it, when, without doubt, it will
be sure to point in the very opposite direction.
It was quite natural that Edith should ask
her husband if he knew the young barrister,
whose look and manners had moved her so
mysteriously ; and the young barrister being
none other than his own son — stolen by means
of treason, and the theft concealed by all the
arts of crime — it was equally natural that her
husband should give for answer a deliberate
lie, accompanied by some sign of resentment
for being compelled into giving it.
2 24 MASSTON.
Edith, who knew that these fits of harshness
passed away if she kept silence, and attributing
her husband's disturbed mind and ungentle
manner to the events of the day, continued to
dwell on the figure of Hugh Arden. As she
sat in her room looking - on the green lustre of
the fields, and the sweet and dappled beds of
lovely flowers, she heard the tones of his voice,
and she felt his face imprinted on her heart.
" He might have been our son," she said,
and then some large warm tears fell from her
Julia here entered the room, and perceiving
her sister's tearful face, went, as was her cus-
tom on such occasions, and knelt down at her
side, put her arms round her waist, and pleaded
a question with her eyes.
" I am not crying, Julie."
"So I see," said her guardian, "you are only
shedding a few tears to give you an appetite."
The sisters kissed each other, and Edith
went to dress for dinner. She found her
MASST0N. 2 25
husband in her room, her emotion, still strong
but a little subdued, urged her to take him in
Warner, unable to resist such goodness,
responded with as much warmth as he could,
and the two passed a single moment of gentle
" Robert," she began in a delightful voice,
"how would you like Mr. Hugh Arden for a
brother-in-law ? "
Warner laughed boisterously. Edith thought
" I am very fond of Mr. Sweetapple, you
know, dear ; but I am quite sure Julia does not
care for him, and never will. Of all the men
I have ever seen, I think Mr. Hugh Arden
the handsomest, — and how good he is ! "
As Edith continued her somewhat excited
talk about the young counsel, arranging her
hair at the glass, she caught a glance of her
husband's face which was reflected in it.
Warner was in the act of delivering a silent
vol. 11. p
2 26 MASSTON.
sigh, raising his eyes to heaven, and placing
his right hand on his breast.
The two faces came together in Edith's
mind, the one reflected in the glass, the other
which she carried in her heart.
In an instant the room was filled with start-
liner noises. Edith's emotion obtained the mas-
tery ; she broke into a laugh which was not
laughter, so much as many sounds being
shattered and broken to pieces and she fell to
the ground, uttering some confused words.
This was very unlike Edith. Warner had
always regarded her as a woman of great
strength of mind. He had certainly seldom
consulted her feelings. He was intensely sur-
prised, and greatly agitated for a brief space.
He hung over his wife for an instant, irresolute,
not knowing what to do. But in that instant
Edith opened her eyes, which met those of
Warner, and with a smile of unearthly sweet-
ness, she said in a calm and loving voice —
" He might have been your own son."
MASSTON. 22 7
Women have been called the saviours of men,
and, no doubt, there are some women who are
so anxious to be raised to the office and dignity
of saviours, that if they can get no one to
nail them to a cross, they will try and hang
themselves on one, believing with sublime in-
fatuation, that their sorrows and suffering's must
prove effectual in raising the men they love
into the lovely form and fashion of their own
" He might have been your own son." Edith
in saying those words was ready to yield her
body and soul as the price for the discovery in
her husband of the qualities she had once
attributed to him. She really meant to say,
" This man is what I took you to be." But that
would have been to exchange the sufferings of
love for the responsibilities of reason.
Warner, if he could only have known it,
m ght have there and then declared that Hugh
Arden was none other than his son. For in
that supreme moment of unselfishness, and
2 28 MASSTON.
unreasoning love, Edith would have found not
only nothing of offence, she would have rejoiced
in finding that the sweetest dream of her life
might yet become a living reality. She would
have connected her emotions on first seeing
Hugh Arden with her love for Hugh Arden's
father ; the sweet, though pain-producing, thrill
which ran through her frame, on hearing the
sound of the young advocate's voice, would have
been to her equal to Heaven's own seal to what-
ever she might do.
As for Warner, he was blinded by his own
confusion. Instead of seeking refuge in honest
confession, he preferred a refuge of lies. His
great danger, he thought, lay in its becoming
known to his wife, that this handsome limb of
the law was the offspring of his own sinfulness.
Whilst he allowed himself to dwell on the fact
that he had actually been induced by Birtles,
a man whom he had deeply wronged, to retain
his own son for the defence of Paul Blanchard,
whose wrongs were still greater, he could not
MASSTON. 2 29
see that it was nothing but pure accident ;
on the contrary,, he firmly believed that it was
a deep-laid plot on the part of some one who
was jealous of his position in the world, and the
power he wielded in it. It was this arrogance
which kept him cold to his wife, at what must
be called the critical period of their married life ;
it was this that made him insensible to dangers
far greater than any which had yet overtaken
him. His son had come to life again, the
young bird which had been tossed out of the
nest into the abyss below, and believed to have
been killed, had come back a great and mighty
ea^le — had come back, not grimed with dis-
grace, or coated with infamy, but clothed in all
the beauty of manhood, and armed with the
most powerful of weapons, the sword of jus-
tice, or, what was more impressive to Warner's
mind, the sceptre of the law.
While Warner was thus reeling to and fro in
a storm of his own raising, a meeting had taken
place between Hugh Arden and Dr. Cumber-
ladge. Soon after the trial, the Doctor had
sought out the young advocate, and met him
face to face. And now the Doctor's sins, com-
mitted in all innocence and good intention,
were to find him out, as surely as Warner's
crimes had overtaken their author. The
Doctor, forgetting that he had deprived Hugh
of his mother, and unwittingly cast him forth
upon the world, remembered only on seeing
him again his own delight, and the wealth
wrung from the boy's father, with which,
heaped up through many years, he could now
" My boy! " cried the Doctor, as he encoun-
tered Hugh and Birtles.
" This is my father," said Hugh, with a
bow to Birtles, " whom I am most glad to
introduce to Dr. Cumberladofe."
This was a cruel stab to the Doctor, and one
which perhaps only a lawyer could have given,
but he said simply, " I tried all I could to find
out where you had gone ; and to see you now
prosperous and happy is a great relief, but I
cannot help wishing you had stayed with me."
" I wanted to find out where he came from,
Doctor," said Birtles.
" Yes," said Hugh, as if interrupting a wit-
ness, "and it was my doing that he did not find
out. How is Dolly ? "
" Do you recollect Dolly ? " asked the
Doctor with a smile.
" I heard him talk of Dolly many a time,"
broke in Birtles, " but I never heard till now
what her surname was. Master Hugh's rather
close like, as a lawyer ought to be."
" Don't be hard on us," said Hugh laugh-
ingly, " we are no closer, I am sure, than the
commercial men of Masston are, as you may
guess from the story of our friend Mr. Reklaw.
And that reminds me I have a business
engagement with an attorney who has come
to see me, I will be back soon." He left
" Mr. Birtles," said the Doctor, going up to
the merchant with profound emotion, " we two
are the fathers of this noble boy. I brought
him up ; I may say that he owes his life to me,
but he would seem to owe more to you : for
you must have saved him from perishing. He
loves you. Do not fear that I will try to dis-
turb that love."
Birtles, surprised into supernatural stillness,
said, " This is very awful, very awful indeed.
I picked him up in my gig, when he was run-
ning away from Masston. Did you pick him
The Doctor paused ; and found a way of
keeping his promise to Warner.
" This is, as you say, very awful," he rejoined
solemnly, " I too found that boy on a doorstep,
in Masston, and, as I have said, brought him up.
Did he tell you anything of his life with me ? "
" He never told me your name. But he said
the reason why he ran away was, that he found
his mother was not his mother, and the boy he
took for his brother struck him in the face."
At this point Arden came back.
" You are my boy after all," said Birtles ;
" nobody knows who you are except me : and
I only know that Dr. Cumberladge saved you
from dying, and that you ran away from him
who might have been your father instead
On this Hugh, trained to hide his feelings,
looked down on the floor, much as he had
looked at his pen in Court.
" I hope I shall do credit to two such good
fathers," he said.
" Ah, Doctor ! " said Birtles in delight,
" Mrs. B. was right when, years ago, she wanted
me to bring this boy back. He's too clever for
a son of mine : if I'd had any they'd have
taken after me ; and I'm sure I should never
dare to talk to a jury as he did."
" He must love his profession ? " said the
Doctor with some anxiety in his tone.
" I love it so much," said Arden, " that I
shall rinor this bell."
A waiter answered it.
" Bring in a bottle of your oldest port."
The waiter disappeared.
" I am going to entertain my two fathers,"
said Arden. "With such parentage," he con-
tinued, with the bravery of one who " would
not be Sir Nob in any case," " none can deny
that I am a man ! "
Birtles clapped Hugh noisily on the back,
and clinked glasses with him. The Doctor
drank his port abstractedly. He was thinking
that, scoundrel as he knew Warner to be, he
could not go back from his word to him ; and
that every circumstance continued to make his
deed, which he now felt to be impious, of sepa-
ration between mother and son irrevocable. If
he told Sarah her son lived and prospered, what
would it profit her ? For the love that Paul
Blanchard bore her, she would get the love of
a son who had never known her. If he told
Hugh that his mother lived, and who she was,
the news could not but check his growing sue-
cess ; and, worse than that, it would inevitably
lead to his seeking and discovering his father.
The Doctor sighed.
" Come, come ! " said Birtles, hearing him,
" there should be no sadness here ; " and filled
the Doctor's glass again.
" Who is this Mr. Warner ? " asked Hugh,
who had been thinking of the trial.
"He is the master of the Oxford Works,'
said Birtles emphatically.
" That we know," said Arden in a forensic
tone. " But where did he come from ?
What is he ? " he asked, turning to the
"He rose," said the Doctor, in a slow, con-
strained voice, " by his own merits."
" Like me ? " said Hugh laughingly.
The Doctor made no answer, and the con-
versation dropped for a space.
" Is the old school going on ? " asked Hugh
presently, as the wine seemed to prove its cheer-
" I believe it is," answered the Doctor ; " but
we left Masston, soon after you left us, for a
farm of mine out of town. You will come and
see us there ? " he said with a curious hesi-
" Assuredly," said Hugh ; "my father Birtles
shall drive me over, if you will give us the
direction. Will you stay and dine with us
to-night ? "
" I must go home," said the Doctor. " I will
tell them to expect you."
He drove home. He determined to settle
in his mind the course he should take, under
the chequered circumstances by which he found
himself mastered. He was o4ad and he was
sorry, now bewildered for a moment and now
firm and steadfast. But he could come to no
decision. The only certain thing in the world to
him at that moment was, that the ponies were
rattling along at a very absurd pace. Whether
these intelligent creatures were making haste
out of Masston to get clear of its foulness, or
glad to carry glad tidings to the Hermitage, or
had any other reason, is best known to them-
selves. It is a fact that they went at a splendid
speed, and their hoofs made a musical clatter
on the road, like the beating of drums in battle.
The Doctor noticed them at last, and said to
the off mare, " Why, Polly, what's up ? " on
which Polly straightened her neck, and shook
her heavy mane over her eyes, as if to hide her
thoughts ; while the near horse arched his long
tail, pushed himself against his collar, and horse
and mare had a very jolly time, with all the
road to themselves, home straight before them,
and the master driving them himself. The
consequence was that the Doctor found him-
self in front of his own door before he knew it,
and lonor before he had resolved on the course
he should take.
They were all on the look-out for him ; for
they were a thoroughly happy family, who pre-
served their sympathies fresh and tender, by
keeping them, not as a stagnant pool close to
their own door, but as the current stream which
flows through many lands, and sweetens the
sea where it finds its rest.
" How the ponies are coming along ! " said
" Yes," said Dolly, " they know on which side
their bread is buttered."
" And sugared," said Shirley. " I never knew
a pony yet take to sugar who did not get to
believe that he was conferring an honour on
the lady from whose hand he graciously re-
" How dreadfully grave papa is looking,"
continued Dolly, as the carriage rolled along,
and the pale but noble face of the Doctor
came into view.
He arrived at last. The ponies stopped of
their own accord, and from the sound of the
Doctor's voice, they all knew that the events
of the day had gone well with him whom one
of their number loved, and all regarded well.
" These ponies have flown," said he as he
stepped from his seat, and said no more.
" Well, papa, you know the ponies have not
yet learned to talk, though it appears they have
learned to fly. What is the news ? " inquired
Dolly, with that imperiousness which belongs
to all sweet intelligences when accompanied
with sound health and the beauty of youth.
The Doctor, who had evidently been intently
occupied with other things, here gave one arm
to Sarah, another to his wife, and said —
" Dinner, I suppose, is nearly ready ; so let us
go in and prepare ourselves like Britons for
our duty, which consists in keeping up a stout
" My heart is quite stout, papa ; and so is
Sarah's," observed Dolly, who, according to
the custom of her sex, was telling a premedi-
tated lie of the darkest colour.
Brave and stout her heart was in the morn-
ing as she saw her father go forth to testify
to what he knew of Paul Blanchard. But as
the day wore on, she began to ask questions
about juries, and the cruelties of lawyers, and
what made her feelings more alive to doubt and
fear was the silence of Sarah, who never left the
house until half-an-hour before dinner ; when
Dame Cumberladge, taking her by the hand,
led her to the garden which commanded a
view of the distant corner of the road round
which they saw the carriage turn swiftly. It
was then that Sarah's tongue was loosed. She
had never doubted, but now she was sure.
Not so with Dolly, which was simply the dif-
ference between friendship and love.
" Well, my dears," the Doctor began after
the soup, " of course you all know that Mr.
Blanchard is perfectly innocent of the charge
brought against him ; and what is more, it is
now known who the person is who stole Lord
Limethorpe's pocket-book. It has been a
very exciting day."
" How did Mr. Blanchard look ? " inquired
Dolly. " Do, papa, tell us something."
Under this young lady's skilful management,
much that passed in the Court was extracted
from the Doctor. But of what to him was more
profoundly impressive than aught besides, he
said not a word ; nor had he decided yet what
word he could say of the youthful advocate,
who that day had pierced more hearts than
At last the Doctor, who was allowed to
take his own time on all occasions, and
under all circumstances, like a well-obeyed
monarch, who loved his subjects more than
they loved him, made the startling announce-
ment, that " Mr. Blanchard would not be at the
Hermitage that night, but he would come to
lunch to-morrow with two gentlemen, a Mr.
Birtles, a merchant of Bristol, who was the
foster father of the counsel who defended Mr.
Blanchard, and the young counsel himself, a
very clever man, and remarkably handsome."
After that they all went to bed, but they did
not all go to sleep, and those who slept less
than any were Doctor Cumberladge and his
VOL. II. O
( 2 42 )
"My blood speaks to you in my veins."
— Merchant of Venice, iii. 2.
Paul Blanchard would have started off at
once from the Court to the Hermitage, but
that he was beset by a crowd of happy human
beings who took him prisoner. None of these
Masstonites ever doubted his innocence, but
they did doubt the uncertainty of the law, or
the wiliness of lawyers. As for that fox
Serjeant Lawlud, they would have much liked
to make him swallow his own head-dress, and
hang Messrs. Papcook and Pawkins in their
robes. But they were too happy for revenge,
and the crowd literally carried Blanchard to
Jeavons' shop, where it was arranged that as
many as could should sup with him that night
at the King's Head.
Paul consented to this for the sake of his
friend Jeavons, whose influence among the
people spread as rapidly as warmth, and as
benignantly. For among the men who should
sit down that night to roast beef and beer,
were many who had once lost heart, but into
whose breasts hope had been poured, and they
had girded up their loins for a fight, in which
they knew they should come off victors.
Mr. Hueh Arden, after dining alone with
Birtles, strolled into the town, intending to
amuse himself in his own way, first by going
to have a look at St. James's Square and next
to visit Jeavons' shop. On his way to the
Square he passed by the school where he and
Shirley first tasted the rod of discipline.
Many of the trivial events of his early life
came back to his recollection. But the school
front had undergone a vast change : from
being a plain, low, unadorned house with a
pitched roof of red tiles, and a common door-
way, of straight lines, it had become a Gothic
structure with a porch in white stone, very
ornamental, but nothing to be proud of; and
the young advocate, whistling aloud, perhaps
to keep his courage up, made his way to the
quiet old Square, where suddenly life for him
was deprived of all its brightness and meaning,
for a brief space at least. What a change
awaited him. The Doctor's house was, as it
were, pushed back between two tall houses of
great magnificence, which towered above every-
thing and everybody. There was nothing here
to bring back his childhood, nothing to make
him linger one poor moment on ground which
had once been sacred, but had now become as
common as a highway. Was it possible that
she whom he had once called mother had also
changed as much as this ? Himself no doubt
had changed, and that alone must prepare him
for seeing great, perhaps vexatious, changes
in those whom he had known when a child.
He indulged in some commonplace reflections
and moved on. As he did so one or two little
ideas peeped in on his mind, as if just ventur-
ing to see how the land lay, and whether
they could dare to gain their liberty by
scampering out of their place of confinement.
But no sooner did these timid little creatures
show the tips of their noses than Mr. Hugh
Arden stamped his foot, put on a severe
frown, and the small and tender things disap-
peared like squirrels. Both these ideas were
intimately connected with a young child who
would now be a young lady, and perhaps as
much changed as the gaudy grammar school,
or the dowdy little brick house now jammed
.between two blue-granite palaces, sixty feet
No one knew him. He recognised one or
two old gables, and the tower of the old church,
not one of which had changed, but not these
nor any living thing exchanged with him any
familiar greeting. He reached Jeavons' shop,
which was deserted save for the presence of a
youth of uncommon intelligence and courtesy.
" Is the master of this shop at home ? " in-
quired Mr. Arden, in a voice which sounded
strange to himself.
" No, sir."
" When will he be at home, or where can I
see him ? "
On which the youth proceeded to inform
Mr. Arden of the feast that was then going- on
at the King's Head, and how his master was
there, and Mr. Blanchard, together with a
hundred working men at least.
Thither did Arden direct his steps. He
wanted to see these working men under the
influence of the men who had been their
leaders. Is it also likely that his heart was
craving for some form of sympathy or some
expression of love which his return to Masston
had revived, or reawakened, which he thought
had long ago been smothered ?
On Arden's entering the banqueting room of
the King's Head he was received with a burst
of cheering, which changed the current of his
thought. He was surprised out of himself.
Glad he was not, or if he felt any pleasure, it
was derived from the fact that these labouring
men had been trained after some sort to work
in harmony. He made his way to Blanchard,
whom he knew, of course, and at his own re-
quest was introduced to Jeavons.
Paul, who had been troubled with an un-
accountable coldness of feeling towards Arden,
gave up his seat to him, which was next to
that of Jeavons, and went and sat between two
of the men who were employed at the Oxford
Works. Paul, who knew himself to have been
innocent of stealing Lord Limethorpe's pocket-
book, could not be made to feel any gratitude
towards the man who had " grot him off." He
even resented the young counsel's presence
at that moment, and was inclined to treat it
as an impertinence. Presently, there was
silence. Benjamin Jeavons rose and said that
Mr. Arden had begged permission to address
them ; on which the young barrister stood up
with the rapidity and air of a man who was
going to fight, and knew very well how to
The speech was delivered without gesture
but with great clearness. Everybody under-
stood it. It dealt chiefly with the responsibility
and the weakness of working men ; so long
as they could meet together, combine, and
work harmoniously for the attainment of some
great good, so long would they prosper : in that
way would they discharge their duties ; only
so could they maintain the power and dignity
of their order. Here the speaker referred to
the social condition of some members of the
meeting before they had combined to buy their
own provisions at Mr. Jeavons' shop, and the
pictures he drew were recognised by many
who heard them. He then explained the
fuller and more complete result which should
be theirs, if they continued to hold together ;
and finally explained his motives for being
there that night, and how he had come to con-
nect himself with a movement, which he de-
clared would change the face of the world.
His words, it should be remembered, were
spoken, not in the present day, but at a
time when the working-classes had not as yet
become the masters of their employers, from
whom indeed they suffered much hardship.
In expounding the laws of labour as they then
stood, Arden vindicated the profession to
which he belonged, and made even some
hearts warm towards him which had half
hated him for being so handsome, and yet
being " nothing better than a thief of a lawyer."
" You want lawyers," the young advocate pro-
ceeded, " and you must have them, to remove
bad laws. I was very much astonished the
other day to be set right by a bricklayer, a man
who couldn't read or write. A number of first-
rate bricklayers were taking down the walls of
an old house in a street, on which I remarked
to a friend of mine that it was a waste of skill
to employ these men for such work ; for that
common labourers could do it quite as well ; on
which the bricklayer, who was standing by, re-
marked, " Yes, and a pretty mess they would
make of it ; they would first kill somebody
who was passing by, and then end in killing
theirsens, besides smashing all the bricks to
pieces." I saw at once what my instructor
meant, and gave him my thanks. It is pre-
cisely the same with regard to our laws ; there
are many which must come down, but we have
got to take care how we remove them, or we
shall pull them about our ears. Ever since I
knew that a skilled bricklayer was required to
pull down an old house, I have been proud of
being a lawyer ; for there is much to be pulled
down of man's law before we can build up for
ourselves the laws of God, and that pulling
down, let me tell you, has to be done with
the greatest care, for very great and obvious
With the music of that voice the dingy room
was changed into a hall of gladness, and the
realities of the present, with their struggle for a
cruel tyranny, together with their fierce de-
mands and their unrelenting claims, were
shown to be mere spectres of the brain,
by being connected with a future in which
there was to be no caprice ; from which all
chance was to be abolished, and every dis-
ability and restriction and obstruction, which at
present dwarfed a man, was to be swallowed
up in perfect freedom. " The moment you
cease to be working men," were Arden's con-
cluding words, " that moment you seal your
doom. Be it to become drunkards, thieves, or
aristocrats, the issue will be the same ; but con-
tinue in the sacred ranks of workers, recailatinof
your labour, perfecting the laws which belong
to it, cultivating mercy, understanding justice,
and using your strength for the good of the
ignorant and the weak, so will you not only
make yourselves great, but become immortal."
As the speaker sat down, Paul Blanchard
was the first to rise, and immediately the
cheers which followed Huorh Arden's address
ceased, and there was a dead silence. No one
there present, except Benjamin Jeavons per-
haps, had ever heard Blanchard make a speech
except when in his cups.
" How quick," he began, " does light travel !
I have hated lawyers all my life, and now I
hate myself for not knowing better ; and what a
glory it is for a man to exchange hatred for
love ! It is like tossing about all night in a hide-
ous dream, in which you are committing murder,
and waking up in the bright warm morning, to
find yourself an innocent human being."
To Paul's perfect astonishment, his voice
gave way, his eyes filled with tears, and the
only thing he was equal to, was to break out
into a very eloquent smile, and sit down. The
impression produced on every heart was too
deep for words, and the meeting relapsed into
an informal collection of groups of men, all
talking of one and the same thing.
It has been dinned into our ears, till some
have been driven mad by the noise, that self-
love is the true and only bond of society.
Of some kind of society, no doubt this is true,
the society, for example, in which Mr. R. W.
Warner became a shining ornament. The
bond which bound together that night Hugh
Arden, Paul Blanchard, and Benjamin Jeavons
with a hundred hard-working men of Masston,
was the very opposite of self-love, and it led to
great events and large enduring consequences.
Another, but much shorter speech, closed a
meeting which is still frequently alluded to by
many a fireside
" I should not, I think," said Mr. Arden, as
he rose to address the men who were all stand-
ing up, " I should not be doing right if I left
this room without telling you, that I am in-
debted for the honour and the true happiness
of being this night in Masston, and of defend-
ing one whom I shall always be proud to call
my friend, I mean Mr. Blanchard, I am in-
debted, I say, for all this to the proprietor of
2 54 MASSTON.
the Oxford Works. I think it is only fair for
you to know this."
The announcement was received in silence,
which was broken by Tappit the blacksmith,
calling out in a ringing voice, " Three cheers
for Mr. Arden ! " There then arose a shout
which threatened to lift the roof off the King's
The next morning found Birtles, Arden, and
Blanchard driving to the Hermitage. Paul
knew the way, Birtles drove, and Arden sat
silent and dreamy ; his chin rested on his chest,
and his eyes looked straight on like a sailor's
looking through a dark night for rocks ahead,
and feeling tolerably sure that no rocks are
there except those which some bungling navi-
gator has caused to be pricked on an uncertain
As they came within view of the chapel, Paul
caught sight of a figure entering its porch.
" There," said Paul, springing out of the
carriage at the risk of his limbs, " is the one
woman " The rest of the sentence was
lost in the sound of his hurrying feet.
" I wonder how many men there are like
that," said Arden, looking after him. " Only
one in a thousand would be enough."
" Bless your heart," said Birtles with a wise
chuckle, "we all do it. I was just the same
with Mrs. B. I remember as if it was yester-
day jumping into a carriage just as he jumped
out of one."
Arden made no answer, he was thinking of
other matters. They arrived at the house ;
the wide hall door stood open, giving fearless
welcome to the day.
The Doctor appeared as the carriage stopped,
and received Arden as if he had been his son.
" But where is Blanchard ? " he asked.
"In the chapel."
The Doctor smiled, " We shall see him pre-
sently no doubt. Come in. Take off your great-
coats," said the Doctor in a mellow voice.
They followed him into the breakfast room.
Dame Cumberladge arose and gave both her
hands to Hugh, who bent and kissed them.
" My daughter," she said turning to Dolly.
Arden flushed and made a hasty step for-
ward ; then, with an unaccustomed awkward-
ness stopped himself midway, and returned
Dolly's gracious bow. At the same moment
the Doctor's wife turned towards Birtles and
Arden, saying simply, " My guardian," intro-
duced him to the woman who had once been
to him guardian and mother.
In the midst of this Paul and Sarah came in.
The Doctor and his wife exchanged glances, in
which there was some apprehension.
" This is Mr. Arden," said Paul ; and she
put out her hand to him. And so after their
long separation, Sarah, not knowing him any
more than he knew her, met the boy who she
believed was in heaven.
" Where is Shirley ? " asked the Doctor,
whose state of mind made him long to know
that he had a voice.
"He is coming across the lawn," answered
" Open the window and let him in."
" He has grot the dogs with him."
" Let them come in too ; this is a feast-day."
Shirley, trying to calm the dogs' delight at
the sight of Blanchard, and at being let into
the house, swung in through the open window.
He went straight up to Sarah seeing Paul by
her side, and said, " Now I can tell you how
glad I am that the truth came out."
"This, Shirley," said the Doctor, "is Mr.
Arden, who brought it out." As the two men
shook hands, a look of perplexity crossed
Shirley's face, which the other speedily dis-
pelled by turning to Sarah and saying, " I am
glad I knew nothing of you whilst I was
defending Mr. Blanchard, for I should have
thought less of him than of you."
Sarah's face opened into a smile, and she
was about to make some natural answer, when a
servant came in to say that luncheon was ready.
VOL. II. R
Birtles found his tongue, and delighted the
company with some account of his own career,
in the course of which he more than once had
occasion to speak of the master of the Oxford
" I gave," he said amongst other things, "the
first great lift to Mr. Warner."
" How was that ? " asked the Doctor, and
Birtles explained the transaction between
Warner and the three B.s, which has been
told. " But though it made him, it unmade
us," he added with a wilful chuckle, that would
have roused the wrath of Mrs. B. if she had
Sarah, who was engaged in talk with Arden,
was at this moment asking if he meant to stay
to dinner at the Hermitage.
" No," he answered, " we must return im-
mediately ; my time here is short."
" I am sorry," said Sarah, " I may not see
"Mr. Arden," here interposed the Doctor,
" you will stay and dine with us, I hope. You
would like, I think, to look over the farm."
" I would like that much," replied Arden,
" but I fear I cannot stay to dinner."
" Come," said the Doctor, not unwilling to
separate Arden from Sarah, " let us show Mr.
Arden our lions, or, to speak accurately, our
Doctor Cumberladge, unaccustomed to play
a part, and unwilling to inflict more pain on his
wife, who suffered acutely on account of Hugh
Arden, here rose from the table, and left the
room with the air of a man who expects every-
body to follow. Only the men did so, Dame
Cumberladge, Sarah, and Dolly remained like
people who, for the first time in their lives, had
gone to the play, and who knew nothing of
the difference between a drop scene and the
Arden discovered for himself that Cumber-
ladge had not made him known to Dolly,
and kept himself to himself in speaking
with Shirley ; neither Shirley nor Dolly had
the least idea who he was, except that he
was the deliverer of their friend, and with
this thought filling their minds they could
entertain none other. Dame Cumberladge, on
the other hand, could think of nothing else
than that this splendid figure of a man was
none other than Sarah's son, and that she,
Dame Cumberladge, a daughter of one of the
oldest and best families in England, and the
wife of one of the poorest of its best men, was
standing by, and consenting to the eternal
separation of son and mother — and such a
mother, and such a son ! And all this wrong,
and the degrading pain and sorrow which
sprang from it, was because Dr. Cumberladge
must keep faith with one of the most accursed
scoundrels who cannot creep through this world
without defiling it.
" How handsome he is! " said Dolly.
" Very ! " said Dame Cumberladge with
MASSTON. 26 T
" I must make him a present," said Sarah
with much meditation.
" You shall," said the Dame ; " we will both
give him a present, but he shall think it comes
only from you."
She left the room, like one who goes to look
at a hidden treasure, or to see that a concealed
captive is in safe hiding.
" My mother is always discovering that she
has some new jewel," said Dolly.
The lady returned, bringing a gold ring
which carried a large ruby, in the centre of
which was fixed, with great art, a dia-
mond. " Take this," she said to Sarah, " to Mr.
Arden, and ask him to wear it for your sake ;
you may say that I asked you to place it on
This was to be secret between the three
women — very harmless in itself, as they
thought. But it may be safely affirmed, that
in this age of enlightenment it is absolutely im-
possible for a secret to become other than a
very dangerous thing, however sweet and
innocent it may be when born.
Sarah proceeded to the garden, looking
intently at the beautiful jewel she was to place
on the finger of her son. He and Paul were
standing in front of the chapel porch. Sarah,
taking Paul's arm, said to Arden —
" Will you let me make you a present, which
I should like you to keep for my sake ? Mrs.
Cumberladge told me to say that she would
like me to place it on your finger."
This little ceremony -was performed with
much simplicity. Sarah placed the ring on the
outstretched finger of a hand which, till then,
had not been deemed suitable for carrying a
ring. When this was done, she clasped Paul's
arm with both hands, looking at the ring, and
the hand to which it had passed.
Arden who, although a lawyer, was too
young to be insensible to all the courtesies of
common humanity, looked at the ring with
increasing astonishment ; then kissed it, then
looked at Sarah as if he would have wished
also to kiss her ; but instead thereof said —
" I will always wear this ring for your sake
and the lady's sake who told you to place it
here," and he kissed it again, and that was the
end of the ceremony.
The Doctor, Birtles, and Shirley were on the
other side of the chapel.
" Mr. Birtles," said the Doctor, " you can do
me a favour," and taking Birtles aside, explained
to the brisk little man how that he had more
than five thousand pounds, which belonged to
"our boy," as he called Hugh Arden. " But,"
continued the Doctor, " there is this condition
attached to it ; he must never know from
whom it comes. Had he remained with us,
there would have been no difficulty ; but that is
past and gone."
" Then," said Birtles, leaping to a conclusion,
" you know his parents ? "
" I do ; and that is precisely the secret which
I must reveal to no one."
" Five thousand pounds ! " mused Birtles ; " I
think he would rather know who his father and
mother were, than take those five thousand
" That," said the Doctor, " must not be
thought of, as far as I am concerned. I am
bound by my own promise ; and, besides that,
it would profit him less than nothing to know.
The truth was hid from him by me at first, and
I must hide it from him still ; that is the penalty
I pay for usurping a power which did not
belong to me."
The Doctor spoke with so much repentance
in his voice and aspect, that Birtles only
"Is there anybody to be hurt by the dis-
covery ? "
" There are good and bad people mixed up
in this matter."
" And you can't separate them ? Well, it's
always so. If it weren't for some of the good
people in this world, the bad would never have
" Yes," said the Doctor meditatively ; " the
good people are the fair garden walls, along
which the villains creep to their work."
" Well, Doctor," said Birtles, " I will under-
take to convey the money to Hugh."
And upon that conclusion they returned to
the house, which Birtles and Hugh soon left, to
take their way back to Masston.
( 266 )
" How quickly nature falls into revolt
When gold becomes her object ! "
— Second Part of Henry IV., iv. 4.
Warner meanwhile had found no rest amid
the tempest which his own incantations had
called up to tear and buffet him. Whilst he
was still thinking of the impending danger
which he dreaded, he knew not why, from his
unacknowledged son, a letter reached him with
the Paris postmark, demanding in peremptory
terms the immediate payment of five thousand
pounds, together with a bond for the future
payment of certain moneys found to be due
from Robert Warner to Lord Francis Elbston.
The solicitor who had written the letter ob-
served that his client's conditions were unusually
lenient, as he felt that he himself had been
guilty of some negligence in not making earlier
inquiry into these matters. He trusted that
Mr. Warner would not delay to set right the
results of the neo-li^ence that had existed on
Warner received this letter at the Oxford
Works, and when he had read it, went out to
his carriage, which was waiting for orders, and
drove straight to Battwood's Bank. There he
had a private interview with the manager, from
which he came out with a sullen and menacing
look. He had convinced himself that his
creditors had had their confidence in him shaken,
and his hurrying mind, unable to discover a
way out of his difficulties, was busy with their
probable effects. At other times a sudden
demand made on Warner for five thousand
pounds would have been answered by a cheque
or bill sent with a letter by a clerk. But now
the storm-tide had reached his feet, and there
was nothing behind him but a helpless cliff.
He sat gloomily debating with himself whether
he should at all risks raise the money imme-
diately required, and wait for the chance of the
apparently inevitable crash being prevented ;
and wished vainly that he had not, like a fearful
patient hiding symptoms from his doctor,
concealed the true state of his affairs from his
confidential lawyer. He had just resolved to
send for this confessor when Dr. Cumberladge
A change had passed over both Warner and
the Doctor since they had last met. The one
had grown hard in the shell of his wrong-
doing ; the other had learned his own frailty,
and the sorrow which he got from the learning
made him pitiful even to the most knavish of
his race. He greeted Warner with less acer-
bity than on the occasion of their former inter-
view. But the gentleness of his bearing was
soon changed by the question which Warner
immediately put to him, in a snarling tone —
" How do you know that Mr. Hugh Arden
is my son ? "
"Just as I know you to be Mr. Robert
Welsher Warner ; just as I know Sarah Arm-
strong, whom you tried to destroy, to be his
mother ; just as I know you to be filled with
the knowledge that he is your son. Do you
doubt it ? " said the Doctor in a tone of com-
Warner quailed for a moment, but reco-
vered himself quickly, and said, with a dry
" There are certain transactions between us
two, which I do not wish to render more un-
pleasant than they need be."
" Unpleasant ! " cried the Doctor carried
away with just wrath.
" That was my word," replied Warner.
" Pray listen to what I am going to say. When
you visited me here more than twenty years
ago, I offered no objection to the claim which
you then made for the support of a certain
child. I make that objection now, and dare
you to do your worst."
2 /O MASSTON.
Warner spoke thus, having found suddenly
his old fertility of resource, and calculated in a
moment upon all the reasons which must prevent
the Doctor from taking any open action against
him. The Doctor was overwhelmed with the
cool, lone-headed audacitv which Warner dis-
played. He sat as one dumb, thus giving
Warner time to improve his position.
" Mr. Blanchard," continued the merchant in
measured tones, " whom I had the pleasure of
advancing in the world, and in whom I am
therefore interested, is, I learn, engaged to
marry — your friend. An attempt to prove
that Mr. Hugh Arden's parentage is what you
assert it to be, might have a disagreeable effect
upon your plans."
Warner, having delivered this thrust at the
Doctor, gratified himself with the reflection that
Dr. Cumberladge was too high-minded to have
allowed Paul Blanchard to become engaged to
Sarah Armstrong without telling him something
of her earlv life, and that this information must
have been conveyed without compromising Mr.
Robert Warner. Intoxicated with his own
cruelty, he watched the Doctor's evident dis-
tress, and smilingly asked him what was, in
fact, the object of his visit.
The Doctor stood up as though grown young
again with anger, and said —
" My object in coming to you was friendly.
It is now to give back to you the sum of five
thousand pounds which I have kept for the
maintenance of the son whom you dis-
So saying Dr. Cumberladge felt in his pocket
for the draft he had prepared for Birtles, which,
on the impulse of the moment, he was about
to restore in reckless contempt to the original
donor of the money.
"Five thousand pounds!" cried Warner, in
a strangely eager tone ; and then, again bring-
ing his swift power of reflection to his aid, and
stopping the Doctor with a dignified gesture,
" No, that cannot be ; I will not take back
what I gave freely."
" Gave ! for what purpose, pray, did you
give it r
" I gave it in charity to an object of your
" Then take it back, for there is no charity
And with that the Doctor flung down the
cheque on Warner's table, and walked out of
Warner, left alone, started to his feet with
upstretched hands. Once more the powers
that ruled his fate had decided for his success.
Five thousand pounds, which Dr. Cumberladge
had forced upon him against his will, was pre-
cisely the sum required to satisfy his present
need. As he stood in an attitude expressive
of ecstatic gratitude, the door slowly opened,
and Edith came into the room. Just so had
she come in when she first saw Robert Warner,
just so had she found him full of a devout
delight. But then the door had seemed to her
to open by some beauteous magic ; now, she
knew it to be a mere trick. And just as the
glamour had faded from the once mysterious
approach to Warner's sanctuary, so had the
majesty of pious fervour, which once filled her
with reverence, passed away from his aspect.
She saw in him nothing but a man proud in
his own success ; he saw in her nothing but a
woman, who might find him out. Both re-
membered how they had thus met before, and
both longed to forget it.
Edith was the first to speak.
" Where have you been all this time ? " she
" Enea^ed on business. I have but one note
to write, and I will come home with you."
He sat down at his writing-table, and un-
folded the cheque which the Doctor had left,
intending to enclose it to Lord Francis. As
he looked at it, and saw that it was payable
2 74 MASSTON.
to James Birtles or order, his expression
changed ; his eyes opened wide, and his mouth
" What — what — can he have to do with it ? "
he said, forgetting his wife's presence. And
she, attentively regarding him, saw how deeply
troubled he was, and still longed to help him.
This she mioht have done, and would have
done had he asked her ; but he got up, and
making some hurried and confused explanation
to her, went out of the room, and, with the
cheque still in his hand, went for the second
time to the bank, and, as was his custom,
walked straight to the manager's room.
" This cheque," he said, " has by some inad-
vertence been made out in the wrong name.
It should be payable to me. Will you kindly
communicate with Dr. Cumberladge on the
matter ? "
The manager replied that it should be
attended to, and Warner took the occasion of
leaving the room with some air of offended
dignity. He then returned to the works,
wrote instructions to Lord Francis's solicitor
to draw on him at sight for five thousand
pounds, and was then ready to go home with
Edith, whom he found sitting patiently where
he had left her. As they drove towards Baston,
Edith said to her husband —
" Are you troubled about anything ? "
As a matter of fact, Warner was troubled
with wondering what was the reason for the
Doctor's cheque being made payable to Birtles,
and whether James Reklaw would be arrested,
and what, in that case, he might confess. Was
it possible, he asked himself, that from the
scamp Ruckles had been extracted anything
which might supply a definite charge as to the
Australian transaction, and that the Doctor's
proceeding had been a deliberate insult ? And
the result of his self-questioning was that he
found himself completely vanquished by Dr.
Cumberladge. The true explanation, which
was that the Doctor had become forgetful in
his wrath, he never entertained.
In answer to his wife, he said that he was
not troubled, only tired.
"Who do you think," she went on with new
animation, " strolled towards our grounds to-
day, as Julia and I were going out ? "
" I cannot guess. Not Lord Francis again ? "
" No ; some one more interesting to me.
Mr. Hu^h Arden."
" Did he go to see you ? "
" Did he — come to see me ? "
" No. It was a chance meeting. I asked
him to come in, and we turned back with him.
I have never seen Julia take such a liking to
Edith would have said much more, some
days before, on the subject which occupied
her completely, but she had lost all will and
power to communicate her real thoughts to the
man who had become to her a shadow : and
the fact of her saying anything at all about Mr.
Arden was due to a feverish desire to break
silence, and an inability to talk of anything else.
Warner, however, made no answer to her
implied praises of Arden.
" You are not sorry that he won the case ? "
" How could I be ? "
Warner answered with a smile, but there
was something in his tone which prevented
Edith from asking any more questions.
While these two were o-oincr from the Oxford
Works to Baston Hall, Dr. Cumberladge had
been to see Birtles at his hotel, and, still hot
with passion, told him that Hugh's father had
disowned him, and that he had in conse-
quence given over to him the cheque for five
thousand pounds, which he had written out
" For me ! " said Birtles coolly, " then there's
time to stop it."
" Stop it ! " cried the Doctor aghast, " you
think I was wrong ? "
" Certainly. You would not deprive the
boy of the money, because his father is
" I am superstitious enough to think that
wealth got by vileness will carry vileness with
it wherever it goes. I thought that while I
could punish this man, by keeping a rod hang-
ing over him, I was right to take his money
for the boy. But when he laughed at threats,
and even denied my power to expose him, I
could not help flinging the money in his face,
and laughing at him, as a thing too contemp-
tible for hatred."
" That may be," said Birtles, " but five thou-
sand pounds is five thousand pounds — and a
very tidy sum for a young man to get as a
present when he's starting in life. You say
MASSTON. 2 79
the cheque was payable to my order. He
can't cash it unless you alter it, or unless he
gets my endorsement."
" Five thousand pounds," said the Doctor,
" is no doubt a very nice thing, if the pounds
are clean ; but if every one of them is smeared
and dirty "
" Wash 'em," said Birtles.
" There is some money you can no more
wash clean, than they could the thirty pieces
of silver," replied the Doctor. But neverthe-
less he was overcome by Birtles' arguments,
and thus it happened that in the course of the
evening, Warner received an intimation that
the cheque he had left with Messrs. Battwood
was correctly written, and would be paid to the
order of Mr. Birtles. Just as Warner, in his
own room, sat muttering curses on himself for
the blunders he had made, the Rev. Wm. Gadso
and the Rev. Edward Sweetapple arrived at
the Hall. Edith received Mr. Gadso with her
usual kindness, and Julia received Mr. Sweet-
apple with more than her usual indifference.
" How are all the birds ?" asked Mr. Sweet-
" The parrot is more snappish than ever,"
Mr. Sweetapple looked at his finger.
" I forgave him lon°: a^o ," he said with in-
" I have never forgiven you for being bitten,"
said Julia with admirable gravity.
Mr. Sweetapple, not quite sure of Julia's
meaning, and being now very desirous of ascer-
taining if the next step he took would land him
on firmer ground, as his mother had assured
him it would, said gently —
" Your bird might bite me as often as he
" I don't think he would like it very often,"
said Julia meditatively. Mr. Sweetapple upon
this was silent for a while.
At this moment Mr. Gadso, who had been
talking church matters with Edith, said with a
" And your dear husband ? I would like to
communicate with him on certain temporal
" You will, I think, find him in his room."
Accordingly Mr. Gadso went to Robert
Warner, whom he found drinking old sherry in
gloomy solitude, and who received Mr. Gadso
as if he were the fiend come to fetch him.
" Have some sherry ? " said Warner with
Mr. Gadso stared, but none the less accepted
"What is this I hear ?" he said softly, as he
poured out the gold wine.
" What about ? " inquired Warner in a
hoarse dull voice.
Mr. Gadso stared again.
" What about, I say ? " repeated Warner
" I think," replied Gadso in evident alarm,
" that I had better see you to-morrow at the
" No," said Warner, placing himself with
some cunning between Gadso and the door;
" to-morrow I may be — away. Pray tell me,
dear friend and master," he went on with an
exaggeration of his old manner, " what is it you
have heard ? "
" Oh ! " answered Gadso reassured, " it is
nothing, no doubt ; but my brother creditors
asked me to get your authority for muzzling
certain rumours that seem to touch your credit,
and," he added with solemnity, " your honour."
" Aha ! " said Warner, returning to his fierce
manner, " did I not stop old Ephraim's mouth ?
Tell your brothers, my creditors, that you and
they can have their money whenever they like.
Have some more sherry ? "
Mr. Gadso, who had not yet tasted his first
glass, thought it expedient to bow with much
courtesy, and to keep to himself his opinion,
that if Mr. Warner's statement had been true,
his manner of making it would have been dif-
" It will be my pleasure to tell them so," he
replied to Warner, " and now I will wish you
good-night. God bless you ! "
" Stop ! Have another glass," said Warner.
This was, perhaps, the greatest trial in the
whole of Mr. Gadso's clerical career, but he
bore it manfully, and bowed himself out of the
room, to rejoin his young friend and pupil.
Mr. Sweetapple was almost as much dis-
comfited as his master, but for a very different
reason. He had managed to get into a quiet
corner on some pretence with Julia, and
when there, had said to her in a distressing
" Mr. Sweetapple ! " Julia had replied in a
clear tone, which filled him with terror.
" May I not hope ? " he babbled.
"To be bitten again?" said Julia quickly.
" You can go and try."
And with that she walked away, leaving Mr.
Sweetapple convinced that his mother's per-
ception was for once at fault. His mother,
however, when he somewhat lugubriously con-
veyed to her his sense of rejection, bore the
disappointment with singular fortitude.
" Pauvre petit" she said, " cest un coup
manque". Well, you will try again somewhere
else. Julia would have done very nicely, but
that Warner fellow is no better than he should
be. He's a pack of lies, that you may take my
" My dear Edward," said Mr. Gadso as they
left Baston Hall together, " a very distressing
circumstance has befallen me ; I am greatly
" So am I," said the pupil.
This was quite true ; and of these two help-
less men, smarting with ignoble sorrow, neither
could comfort the other; indeed, their com-
panionship might have been taken as a type
of the parable often expounded with much
rhetoric by each of them, of the blind leading
the blind. They could neither see the ditch
yawning before them, nor point it out to
( 236 )
" Some there be that shadows kiss ;
Such have but a shadow's bliss :
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver 'd o'er : and so was this."
— Merchant of Venice, ii. 9.
The next morning Mr. Robert Warner eot
up with a consciousness of having something
weighty on his mind, which hurried him into
a feverish activity. He felt, for almost the
first time in his life, the tyranny of doing ill
by stealth, and blushing to find it infamous.
He had a vague recollection of having played
some practical joke on Mr. Gadso ; and re-
membering this, he was filled with an irritation
strange to his nature, which was only dis-
pelled by his reading a letter, sent to him by
the new foreman at the Oxford Works, who
" Honoured Sir, — The experiment promises
well. The process is certain. We shall make
the first trial very early. — I remain, honoured
sir, yours obediently,
" Adam Coatham."
" There are thousands in this ! " cried
Warner in trumph. " When it is once set
going, Lord Francis and the creditors will
be hat in hand to me again. The bank, too,
will be glad enough to wait. They can't
afford to throw me over for five thousand.
As for Reklaw — and Mr. Arden — I shall find
means to stave off danger from them."
He dressed himself, rang his bell, ordered
breakfast and the carriage at once, and left
his home without a thought for any one in it.
Arrived at the works he went straight to the
" We are quite ready, sir," said Coatham,
bustling importantly forward to meet him.
" Come, then," said Warner, taking up his
2 88 MASSTON.
place on a broad plank stretching across a
large vat, containing a mess of deadly poison,
and one of the precious metals in solution,
" let us begin."
Coatham also took up his place by the side
of an eager-faced Frenchman, in a blue blouse
stained here and there with chemicals, near
whom stood three or four workmen waiting
silently for orders. Coatham took up a large
copper vase of an Etruscan shape, fastened to
it a copper wire, then attached it to the end of
the vat where Warner stood, and let it slowly
descend into the tank of dark liquor. Warner
stooped and looked anxiously into the turbid
bath of liquid metal.
" Take care, sir," cried Coatham, now sup-
porting his wire with the bent end of a stick,
and then, looking like a fisherman who has
hooked a big fish, said —
"Draw up, sir, and see what has happened,"
and handed the cane to Warner.
Warner took the cane in his hand, and was
drawing up its glistening load, when he saw
Mr. Hugh Arden appear at the other end of
the laboratory ; and that sight was his damna-
tion. A nameless terror seized him ; he felt
that all his dreams of evil were come true, he
saw his son advancing upon him like an aveng-
ing angel ; and, in the very moment of triumph,
when his star was piercing the black clouds
that threatened him, he quailed ; dimness
seized his eyes, a hurrying giddiness swayed
his limbs, and while, true to his instincts of
gain, he clung to the vase, heavy with the
liquid that filled it, he reeled, and fell into the
dead sea of silver.
It might seem to the rapid eye of readers,
that this tank was made on purpose to drown
Mr. Robert Welsher Warner. This is not the
case. It was constructed at great expense and
trouble, to hold a set of bed-posts made ot
copper, which were to rise from their precious
bath, transfigured into silver columns for an
Eastern monarch. Other marvels were in
vol. 11. t
preparation : such as a Corinthian column,
twelve feet high, also of silver, the base and
capital of which were to be of gold, intended to
support the plumed branches of a palm, also in
silver, which in their turn were to carry a hun-
dred crystal lamps to light up a marble palace,
which, though vacant at present, may still be
seen on the banks of the Lower Nile.
" Well, he died in harness," said the Rev.
William Gadso when, conveying the awful
tidings to Edith, he tried also to comfort her.
" He died in a tub of poison," said Dr.
" He died by accident," said a jury.
"It was a very sudden fall," observed one
Masstonite to another, and then it occurred to
every one that Mr. Robert Warner had risen
" Yes, he had a very sudden rise," remarked
a heavy commercial man to another com-
mercial man who shook his head, and said,
" That explains everything." No doubt it ex-
plained much ; a rapid walk up the spiral stair-
case of a lofty tower, has very frequently ended
in a far more rapid coming down than the
climber expected, which was entirely owing to
the "sudden rise."
The impression left on Hugh Arden was
that Warner deliberately plunged into the vat,
and knew what he was doinof at the time.
" I saw him," he related to Birtles an hour
afterwards, " look straight at me as I walked
up to him, and his face in one moment seemed
to become a canker'd heap of strange achieved
gold, cracked all over, wrinkled with care,
horror, and, I was going to say, damnation. I
once saw a man whom I defended — but who,
nevertheless, was condemned to be hanged —
leave the dock with the same look on his face."
" A very sudden death then," mused Birtles.
"No doubt, that was the best part of it," said
Hugh. "When are you going home ? "
" I am quite ready," said Birtles, " except
that I have to collect five thousand pounds."
" How long will that take ? "
"Just ten minutes."
" Then we will dine at three, and take the
'Tally Ho' at five."
Edith and Julia went in the same coach — not
on the same day, but many days later, and, for
many a day after Edith wore a long black
cloak ; and when again she rose into the day
of the world, it was within the walls of a house
made gray with incense, and speckled with men
in black gowns, and women with white linen
flaps to their faces. She did much good among
the poor. She was persecuted for her charities
by some men of the very religious "school of
thought," whom her dead husband had helped
to make insolent. She became happy and
joyous, for her courage was restored to her,
and, in fighting mean men, who wielded
nothing but dead laws, she found not a little
knowledge mixed with delightful humour.
Julia took to horses, and said they were
better companions than men. She hunted, to
the inexpressible grief of the Bishop, but she
softened him a little by giving up dancing.
She never allowed a morning to pass without
seeing Edith, and every day the two sisters
quarrelled like lovers, and gave wounds to each
other for the pleasure they had in healing them,
To-day it was a cambric cap for Edith, made
in shape like a coronet, to take the place of
what Julia would call grave clothes about her
sister's face ; and another day's fearful struggle
would be about Julia's rings, and the glittering
jewels she wore, which the elder sister said
should be sold and bestowed on the poor, on
which Julia would laugh, and presently sing
some old song of days when men were knights
and women ladies. The sweetness of her voice
always brought a calm, when Julia would return
to the argument, for the sole purpose of keep-
ing up some natural activity.
"If I sold these emeralds, Mrs. Bashak
would get them, and wear them, and then there
would be envy and malice on the part of Mrs.
Jehoshaphat. Whilst I wear them they are the
cause of no envy, but rather of pleasure. Do
you know that the other day, as I was patting my
black horse Monostatos on the neck, I caught
sight of my ungloved hand with these same
rings on, as it touched his shining coat. And
since then I have been thinking: how best I can
manage to make him wear my jewels, they are
so lovely when seen in motion."
This harmless extravagance, and playful
revelling in fancy, always made Edith smile,
and for one of these sweet messengers of love,
Julia would give up everything — till the next
The immediate claims of Lord Francis were
paid in full without question by Edith, whose
fortune, it must be said to Warner's credit, he
had never touched. The creditors found that,
with time and a trustworthy manager for the
Oxford Works, who was found in the person of
Paul Blanchard, they could not only recompense
themselves, but could gain much profit. Lord
Francis, on the death of Lord Limethorpe,
returned to Elbston in company with Mr.
Buckle. The career of the two was not unlike
that of a well-known Spanish scoundrel and his
valet ; and when Lord Francis had spent all his
money, he disappeared as suddenly as did that
magnificent, musical Don, but whither he went
is not so certain.
Did a wedding take place in the chapel of
the knio-hts at the Hermitage Farm ? or did
Sarah Armstrong convince Paul Blanchard
of the impossibility of such a wedding tak-
ing place ? Did her vivid mind discover-
that there could be no Eden without its
garden ? It is not unlikely. But we may be
sure of this, that whatever choice she made,
it was determined less by the consideration she
had for herself than for others.
Did Dr. Cumberladofe come to see the error
of his ways, and bring back from heaven the
boy he had sent there, restored in the form of a
man to the mother he had robbed ?
These, and many other questions of equal
interest growing out of this piece of human
patchwork, which the rapid changes of these
modern times have produced, may be left to the
ingenuity of our readers, and especially those of
them who know how to distinguish between
Masston brass and unminted orold.
There remains but little more to tell. The
Oxford Works retain their fame, but under the
wise rule of their present director they have
been outstript in show and magnificence, not only
in Masston, but in many other English towns.
The roads and lanes which once came up to
Masston, where grew trees in lofty avenues,
that seemed to have been planted and trained
to stateliness and grandeur, by a people who
appreciated those qualities too highly to allow
them to become the properties of mortals
whose staying powers were of the feeblest kind,
have given way, and gone. The hawthorns
and hollies which stood between Masston and
the villages of Russet, Averil, and Leasows,
like the sentinels of an army bent on defending
the shapely fields from a surprise which would
turn them into clay-pits, gravel-pits, or water-
holes, have perished, and so have the birds
which sheltered in their branches. The
villages have gone the way of the tall trees
and the avenues, the fields are smothered with
houses, and the houses are smothered with
human beings, and the human beings are
smothered with a malignant fever called debt.
Not one single member of the human race in that
great town could possibly mistake a windmill
for a ofiant, an inn for a castle, or a baesraee
for a fair lady. They know better, but it may
be said without fear, that great as is the know-
ledge of the famous people of Masston, they
know not everything. As, however, they have
most certainly found out new lively and pictur-
esque methods of making money, they will,
it may be fairly presumed, continue to maintain
their name and race among the moderns as
long as the youngest of their kind.
The Pudding Bag is now pulled down, and
the rookeries, as they were called, are abo-
lished ; and there be some who declare that
the new national livery of brown and yellow,
bestowed on their inhabitants in requital of
giving up their right to live as they wish, has
not proved so far a success.
This is a pity.
Benjamin Jeavons still lives, and has lived
long enough, he says, since, having seen the
decay of the two forces which once could sway
the hearts of men, he has nothing to do now
but see men grow rich, or well off, and die like
flies who have eaten poisoned sugar.
The general dulness in our town is ascribed
by many tongues to many and different causes :
the one which chiefly caught our ear, and was
deemed worthy of notice, was that given by a
charming young lady whom we have all seen
and doubtless admired, who said that Masston
was dull because it had no new books worth
On that hint we set to work to write some-
thing about the town itself, and some of the
people who have helped to make it what it is ;
and to put into such shape our thoughts and
feelings as might command the attention of
Masston itself, and lead it, in the pathetic and
loving words once addressed by a man who
followed the plough to the devil, to —
"Tak' a thocht, and men'."
And this story is respectfully dedicated to
the academicians of Masston, its pastors and
masters, its wise men and its fair women.
PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO.
EDINEURGH AND LONDON
UNIVER9ITY OF ILLINOI9-URBANA
i 1 2 045822746"